What is the fear of the Lord? Are we supposed to be afraid of God? God is not a tyrant who gets pleasure out of frightening people. Psalm 145:8 says, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” I John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” As you can see, the Bible says that God is love. He’s merciful and full of compassion toward us. So, then, what does the Bible mean when it tells us to fear the Lord?
- We need to reverence His Name.. Psalm 111:9 says, “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”
- We need to recognize Him for who He is: the Creator of all living. Deuteronomy 10:17 says, “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:”
- We need to recognize His awesome might. Joshua 4:24 says, “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”
- We need to recognize His greatness. Psalm 96:4-5 says, “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.”
- We need to know that He has the power to cast mankind into an eternal hell. Matthew 10:28 says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The Bible is very clear when it talks about the love, mercy, kindness, and compassion of God. But that does not mean that we should discount His justice and judgment and pending wrath. The same Bible that assures us of God’s love and mercy, warns us of His wrath and a coming judgment.
- Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”
- Psalm 7:11 “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”
- Psalm 90:11 “Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.”
- I Peter 4:17-18 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
To fear the Lord simply means that you have a healthy respect for His authority as Creator, a reverence for His holy Name, and a recognition of His holiness and awesome power. No person who experiences the fear of God Almighty as the Bible warns will reject His gift of salvation. Do you know the Savior? If not, it is not too late. Ask God to give you a glimpse of His might and power. You will never forget it.