The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Proverbs 1:7; 9:10
Therefore it is very important for us to know what is meant by those words.
There is a very common misconception in Christendom that the Fear of God means that we must be frightened of Him, but this is not true.
It is true however, that those who do not have not the fear of the Lord should be frightened of Him.
So let us look at this very closely: Does having the fear of the Lord mean to be frightened of Him, or is it to know, and to revere Him, and to follow in all His ways?
Let’s begin with Isaiah chapter 11 verses 1-3.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [Jesus]…And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD” Isaiah 11:1-3
In other words, the Spirit shall inspire the fear of the Lord. And what is that fear?
“The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
“For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:” Proverbs 1:29
From these passages we have learned that the fear of the Lord is not something that we naturally possess, but it is something that is given to us by the Spirit of God, and that we must choose it in order to receive it. It cannot mean to be frightened of Him, for:-
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” I John 4:18-19.
In the eighth chapter of Proverbs, Wisdom, which is the fear of God [Proverbs 9:10], is personified, and in the last verse of that chapter she says, “All them that hate me love death.”
It is only through the Bible that we learn of Jesus, for He is wisdom personified, without whom, we cannot hope for eternal life. The Bible is the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works, and it is our guide into the ways of truth and knowledge.
It is the Bible alone that teaches us the fear of God-which the wise man tells us, is the beginning, or rather, the principal part of knowledge. Therefore it must be, that the Bible of all books, is the one that we should study above all.
Every shadow of darkness, every cloud of gloom, every fear of whatever kind, is simply the shadow of death, and it is of the devil. Satan has cast his sinister shadow upon this world, and as Zacharias prophesied at the birth of his son, the Lord has visited us and delivered us out of the hand of our enemies, that we “might serve him without fear.” (Luke 1:74).
The fear of the Lord is His to give freely to those who love and obey Him, it is not to be frightened, or in terror of Him, but it is His gift to those who will walk in all His ways.
“let not his fear terrify me” (Job 9:34) Never shall His fear impart terror upon those whom He loves. “Behold, my terror (fear) shall not make thee afraid.” Job 33:7.
Having the fear of the Lord does not mean that we are to be frightened of Him, as many do teach.
This is what Isaiah was referring to when he said: “and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13).
But we are to seek “His Fear” in faith, according to God’s promise, which is this:-
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” “Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.” Prov. 2:1-6, 9.
“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,” Deuteronomy 10:12
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7.
“God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:16-18.
Christ gave himself to “deliver them who through fear of death were all their life subject to bondage.” Heb. 2:15. He who knows and loves the Lord cannot be afraid of him; and he who is not afraid of the Lord has no need to be afraid of any other person, or thing.
One of the greatest blessings of the Gospel is the deliverance from fear, whether real or imaginary.
“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Ps. 34:4.
For a more in depth study on this subject please visit the The Fear of the Lord