The Fear Of The Lord
Early on as a Christian I heard a couple of messages on the fact that fear and the fear of the Lord are different. I have known for a long time that they are different but no definition of the difference has ever quite satisfied me. Pastor Kent McBay of North Mesa Baptist Church (Arizona) gave some Biblical definitions of the fear of the Lord from the book of Proverbs. Those Biblical definitions have satisfied me about that difference as I have never been satisfied about it before.
The word fear standing alone means the same thing for believers and unbelievers. But the phrase the fear of the Lord is and ought to be different for believers and unbelievers. For unbelievers the fear of the Lord should be the same as fear, meaning to dread, to be afraid or fright. For believers the fear of the Lord is reverence, respect and faith. The fear of the Lord that unbelievers have may or may not produce changes in them and their lives. For believers the fear of the Lord that they have WILL produce changes in them and their lives. Fear may or may not be a good thing. For believers, the fear of the Lord is ALWAYS good and beneficial.
Proverbs 1:7, 28-29: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. . . . 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Clearly, the fear of the Lord has a beginning. It is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge that one did not possess before. It is the end of despising God*s wisdom and instruction, which is what fools do. It is the beginning of knowledge of a Holy God and of holiness. And it is the beginning of understanding that one did not possess before.
Proverbs 2:1-5: My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 8:13: The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverbs 10:27: The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
Proverbs 14:26-27: In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Proverbs 15:16: Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Proverbs 15:33: The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Proverbs 16:6: By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Proverbs 19:23: The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
Proverbs 22:4: By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Proverbs 23:17: Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.