What Does It Mean To Fear God?

About a month ago I had a lady e-mail me, and express that her boyfriend had a hard time acceptng the phrase “Fear the Lord.” To him the word “Fear” was a bad or negative word. Why does the Bible and GOD ask us to fear Him? You fear a bully in school, you have a fear of flying, or maybe you are afraid of dying. In our culture, “Fear” is an emotion that rules us by a negative. So why the word “Fear”?

Let me give you two examples that hopefully change your view of the word “Fear.” First off, let’s face it, who really fears GOD anymore? Today, GOD is not a god to be feared, HE is a passive being. We have taken this amazing being, and fit HIM into a box so our minds can think we can understand HIM. In our culture, usually when something goes wrong we end up blaming GOD. The reason that HE is passive is because we do not want HIM interfering in our lives, or we do not expect that much from HIM anymore.

When the Bible was written they did not have the scientific knowledge that we have today. So, to look at the use of the word “Fear” you have to look at it from the writer’s point of view. Here are two examples:

We understand what creates a tornado; warm air, mixed with cooler air spins together in the clouds, as it spins more violently, it reaches down to earth and destroys whatever it touches. We have taken GOD out of the creation of this, we call it science, or mother nature. Can you imagine Solomon witnessing a tornado? This cloud came from the heavens, it must have been GOD. If I were Solomon I would fear this tornado, and pray that GOD would protect me from this terrible thing.

Here is another example, imagine you are with Moses when the earth splits open and swallows up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. They went down to the grave alive with everything they owned. Then if that were not enough, fire came from the LORD and consumed 250 men for sinning. Numbers 16:31-35

To the men and women of the Bible, GOD was this amazing force that had the power to consume them if they were disobedient. They knew this was a powerful being, and respected it. To us….. well, we struggle some days to even believe that GOD does exist, and as far as HIM being powerful…… well….. HE never gives me what I want, so how powerful can HE be?

My other thought is that we misuse the meaning of the word “Fear.” I looked up “Fear” in a dictionary, and here are the results. I think that we should use or remember the meaning #4.

1. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
2. A specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
3. Concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
4. Reverential awe, esp. toward God.
5. That which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.

Reverential Awe……. I like that much better, don’t you? I hope that maybe you have a different outlook on our Fear of the LORD or Reverential Awe of the LORD. đŸ™‚

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