Prayer For A Reverential “Fear” Of The Lord
What Does Reverence Mean? Bible Definition of Reverence
What does reverence mean? How does the Bible define reverence? Let’s examine the Scriptures to see.
Root Meaning of Reverence
The Hebrew word for fear is “yare” and it literally means “to fear, be afraid, or to revere.” Other meanings of this word in Hebraic (Qal) are to “stand in awe, to have a deep respect or honor.
” As for the way the word fear is used in the New Testament Greek, “phobe” from which we get the word phobia, means to “put to flight by terrifying, to flee, or be afraid” but also has the meaning of “reverence and to hesitate.
” So when we are told to fear God we are commanded to have a deep, abiding respect for Him which includes a holy, reverential fear or honor of Him because He is able to cast both body and soul into hell (Matt 10:28) which man has only the power to kill the body.
Jesus was telling His followers that persecution would be coming (Matt 10:16-25) but to not fear man but to fear only God because only God has the ability to cast both the body and the soul into hell and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).
Should Clergy Be Called Reverend?
I am only a pastor, an under-shepherd to the Great Shepherd but one man once called my by the title “Reverend” to which I recoiled from and I told him “Only God is reverend” because we are to not stand in awe, be afraid of, or terrified of any man.
” I was not comfortable with this title and I am not judging those who use this as part of their title in the clergy but I cannot take that name to myself knowing the root word or meaning in both the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek. I think only God can have that reference because God alone is to be honored, revered, and deeply respected.
God is a respecter of no man but all men are to be a respecter of Him. I moved from disaster to pastor but this was only by the grace of God. I do not ask the church where I pastor at to call me pastor or preacher but just call me what they feel comfortable with.They can call me Jack, pastor, preacher or whatever but I reject the title of reverend because to be called reverend is showing me far too much honor and respect because I am still a sinner. Reverend can be used as an adjective, title or noun and I believe it should only be reserved for God.
I would hope that no one would fear me but fear only God and fear is a form of a reverential, holy, deep and abiding respect and honor for the only One Who is worthy of it. There is true wisdom in fearing God (Prov 9:10) but fearing man is a stumbling block (Prov 29:25).
Fear or Reverence of God
Paul talks about having reverence for God in Ephesians 5:21 with respect to “submitting ourselves to one another reverence for Christ” and we should “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:28c-29) because even Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” for God (Heb 5:7) in the Garden of Gethsemane. Believers have or at least should have a fear or reverence for God for He is so holy that He is totally other and is transcendent above His creation. To have reverence for God is to stand in awe of Him for all that He has done to redeem us. This redemptive love should make us stand in wonder and amazement that He would die for us while were still His enemies and “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). This is the primary reason that when I pray, if at all possible for where I am at during the day, I fall on my face and at times, lay prostate on the ground in showing God that He is above all things and that He is worthy to be praised, adored, honored, respected, feared, and reverenced. This is what many of the saints did in the Old Testament or in the New Testament when they came into the presence of God.
If you haven’t yet repented and trusted in Christ, you have every reason to fear God because your day of judgment is coming at the day of your death (Heb 9:27) when all flesh will be judged according to what they have done in this life (Rev 20:11-15) and if you haven’t had the righteousness of Christ imputed to your account (2 Cor 5:21) then know this; “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). Either you can have Christ pay for your sins or you will have to pay for them in all of eternity. Adam and Eve had this kind of fear because of their sin and that is why they hid and Adam told God; “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Gen 3:10). A child tends to hide from their parents when they know that they’ve done something wrong. There is no need to fear because “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned [but] whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16b-18) because Jesus says “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matt 12:30a). Believe me, you don’t what Christ against you…you want Him with you…or you really have to fear God in a much broader and more terrifying sense.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas.
Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon
The Lord’s Prayer Bible Verses and Study
The Lord’s Prayer may be the most familiar prayer that exists. It is found in the Bible, in Matthew and in Luke, and came from the very mouth of Jesus Christ.
This prayer is actually instructional; it is a model prayer that is meant to teach us the correct focus and emphasis of prayer.
Although it is commonly called ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, it should more correctly be called ‘The Disciples’ Prayer’ because it is meant as a model prayer for those who follow Jesus.
The context of the Prayer
We find Matthew’s recounting of Jesus’ delivery of the Lord’s Prayer set amidst Jesus’ teachings against hypocritical religious acting. Jesus was contrasting the way the false religious leaders acted with how true followers of God should behave.
Jesus had cautioned His disciples not to call attention to themselves in prideful ways when they went about living out their faith. He said that the false religious teachers to call attention to themselves, instead of pointing to God, when they did things giving to the needy (Matthew 6:2-4) or praying (Matthew 6:5-8).
After Jesus had finished describing the wrong way to pray, He illustrated the right way to pray by using this model prayer.
Of course, if this prayer is simply memorized and repeated without a heartfelt commitment and earnest sincerity, it becomes the same sort of hypocritical mumbling that Jesus had just condemned.
This prayer was never meant to be mimicked; it was to serve as an outline, or guide, for the sincere devotee to God.
As we will see, this prayer requires an honest love for God on the part of the one praying for it to be anything more than a superstitious poem that will not even reach the ceiling.
The content of the Prayer [taken from Matthew 6:9-13 ESV]
“Pray then this…” (9a)
Jesus had railed against the false religiosity of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
He had pointed out that they do their religious duties for selfish reasons, to steal the glory that rightfully belongs to God for themselves, not love and service to Him.
How often do we do the same thing today? How many times do we do something good for someone simply to make ourselves look good? Rather, we should be doing everything for Jesus’ sake; love for Him and for His glory and honor.
“Our Father in heaven…” (9c)
This phrase recognizes our allegiance to God. He is our Father; He created us, He sustains us, He gives us spiritual life. Everything we have and everything we are or ever hope to be, we owe to Him.The all-powerful Creator, Who lives outside of time and space, in the realm we call ‘Heaven’, is our Father, our God, our life, and our Savior. When we pray, we must be aware of exactly Who it is to Whom we are praying.
“Those who pray this are members of a family, and they look to God as the Head of the family, one who is bound to them by ties of love” (Baker, vol. II, p. 1350).
“…hallowed be your name” (9c)
In Jesus’ day, a person’s name was indicative of his character. This phrase [“hallowed be your name”] means that we realize, and acknowledge, that God is holy, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3 ESV). There are too many people these days who think too little on God’s holiness.
We do not realize that God is perfect, He is our Creator, He sustains us, and He deserves our worship and love. Too often, we do not approach Him with the reverential awe, or fear, that the Bible commands, “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” (Proverbs 19:23 ESV).
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (10)
This phase means that we should want God’s plan to be carried out by humans on earth the same way it is carried out by the angels in Heaven. As believers, our hearts should be set on furthering His Kingdom any way that He asks of us.
We should be agents of change, whose mission is to share the good news of God’s love for humanity with all those we can, so that this world would be more His Kingdom.
“The servant of God looks for the rule of God to become actual in more and more lives” (Baker, vol. II, p. 1350).
“Give us this day our daily bread…” (11)
The believer should be living in a daily dependence on God’s provision. After Jesus had told His followers that they need not worry about having the necessities of life, He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).
“…the prayer is for the simple and present necessities of life. Jesus is counseling his followers to pray for necessities, not luxuries, and for what is needed now, not a great store for many days to come. By confining the petition to present needs Jesus teaches a day-by-day dependence on God” (Baker, vol.
II, p. 1351).
“…and forgive us our debts [Luke: our sins], as we also have forgiven our debtors” (12)
Because we are believers in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven. Therefore, this is not saying that our sins are forgiven because we forgive others. Rather, we forgive others because we have been forgiven.
It is easy to forgive others when we truly understand how much God has forgiven us.If we claim to have had our sins forgiven by God, yet we refuse to forgive others, there is a problem with our relationship with God, and that problem needs to be dealt with.
“And lead us not into temptation…” (13a)
We know that God does not tempt anyone with evil (James 1:13). Therefore, this phrase must be a request for God to guide our paths away from temptation and testing. It is a request for protection against that which might cause us to fall into sin.
The Bible tells us that everything that happens is either caused by God, or God allows it. As such, we believers realize that God is in control of every second of our lives, so we pray for God to guide our steps away from temptation and towards holiness.
“…but deliver us from evil” (13b)
God is the only one Who can protect us from evil [alternate translation: evil one]. It is by His strength that we are enabled to stand against the world, the flesh, and the devil. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 ESV).
The Bible also tells us that God will not let us be tempted or tested more than He will also supply the ability for us to endure, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (I Corinthians 10:13 ESV).
Conclusion: Important Principles from the Lord’s Prayer
When we pray to God, we must understand that He is the Holy Creator, and Sustainer, of the universe. Our basic motivation in prayer must be for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom. We can surely ask Him to supply our needs and comfort our afflictions, but we must always recognize that His will trumps ours.
We should desire that His will be done here on earth, and we should be willing to submit to His plan, rather than expect Him to submit to ours. We must always remember that every good thing comes from God (James 1:17); He lovingly supplies our needs. We must forgive others as we have been forgiven.
We must trust God to deliver us from any temptation or testing that we should encounter, knowing that we are unable to resist temptation on our own.When we pray with this attitude, we can say with the apostle John, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (I John 5:14 ESV).
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Walter A. Elwell, ed. Baker Book House, 1988.
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What Does the Fear of the Lord Mean?
We fear many bad things: Crime, auto accidents, devastating storms, West Nile virus, chemical weapons, mass murderers, terrorists, earthquakes, demons and Satan himself!
But our loving Heavenly Father? Why would God tell us to fear Him?
First, realize that there is a fear of God that doesn’t produce good results. This terrifying and paralyzing fear is ly the type of fear that comes to mind for many.
The Bible shows several examples of fear gone wrong. Consider these passages:
- “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19).
- The unprofitable servant was corrected for being wicked and lazy after he made the excuse, “I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground” instead of using it productively (Matthew 25:25).
- Revelation 21:8 even tells us the “cowardly” or “fearful” (King James Version) will not be in God’s Kingdom.
Such fear does not have a positive end. Obviously this fear is not what God is looking for. In fact, God offers us help for fighting the effects of wrong kinds of fear. See our article “How to Deal With Fear and Stress” for more on this.
So what type of fear does God want us to have?
Meaning of the fear of the Lord
The main Hebrew and Greek words translated fear in the Bible can have several shades of meaning, but in the context of the fear of the Lord, they convey a positive reverence.
The Hebrew verb yare can mean “to fear, to respect, to reverence” and the Hebrew noun yirah “usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (Exodus 20:20).
… This fear is produced by God’s Word (Psalm 119:38; Proverbs 2:5) and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10)” (Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, 2003, pp.
The Greek noun phobos can mean “reverential fear” of God, “not a mere ‘fear’ of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, “Fear, Fearful, Fearfulness”). This is the type of positive, productive fear Luke describes in the early New Testament Church:
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31, emphasis added).
One resource includes this helpful summary: “The fear of God is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence and wonder. It is the only appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer” (Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible, 1997, note on Psalm 128:1).
Purpose of the fear of the Lord
If you study the Bible, there is no mistaking the repeated commands to fear God. Wise King Solomon put it this way in explaining his reason for writing the book of Proverbs: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).
Why? Consider these words of the psalmist: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).
In Psalm 34 King David also tells us about learning the fear of the Lord: “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. … Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (verses 11, 13-14).A healthy fear of God includes the fear of the consequences of disobedience. There may be times of temptation or trial when we may forget some of the better reasons for obeying God, and that is when we had better think of the consequences (Exodus 20:20).
Reverence of God helps us to take Him and His beneficial laws seriously. Being in harmony with the spiritual laws that govern the universe has astounding benefits.
This is what Hebrews 10:26-31 tells us: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Reverence of God helps us to take Him and His beneficial laws seriously. Being in harmony with the spiritual laws that govern the universe has astounding benefits.
Many of these come in this life, but the greatest benefits will be experienced in the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8; Psalm 16:11).
Consider this biblical analogy: Children learn their family rules partly through fear of correction (Hebrews 12:9-11). Of course, when they grow older, they should continue to follow the rules love.
God, whose family rules are even more important, also trains us to obey for our own good.
As incredible as it sounds, God wants us to actually be His children!
But we live in a world that is deceived and ruled by Satan. So we must come Satan’s ways—we must not be children of Satan (John 8:44). Instead we should learn the way of God’s family—the way of love. God is love (1 John 4:8), and His laws can be summarized as love for God and love for fellow man (Matthew 22:37-40).
Forgiveness and the fear of the Lord
Sadly, however, everyone sins and earns the death penalty. If everyone is just going to die forever, what would be the purpose of fear? Sure, we might be depressed and terrified, but is that what God really wants?
Consider this fascinating passage: “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).
God’s offer of forgiveness to those who repent gives us a reason to fear—a reason to change. It also gives us a reason to be eternally grateful and to grow in love to be more our loving God!God’s offer of forgiveness to those who repent gives us a reason to fear—a reason to change. It also gives us a reason to be eternally grateful and to grow in love to be more our loving God!
How does love cast out fear?
The reverential fear of the Lord is designed to help us grow to become more God—to grow in love. And this growth removes any need to be terrified of God’s judgment. As the apostle John put it:
“Love has been perfected among us in this: 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 casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:17-18).
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature by Arndt and Gingrich gives an excellent explanation of the use of phobos in verse 18. In the specific context of the verse, the meaning is “slavish fear … which is not to characterize the Christian’s relation to God.”
The same shade of meaning is applied to the word fear in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Though we are to voluntarily yield ourselves as bond servants or slaves to God, He is not an abusive, cruel slave driver who terrorizes and torments us, which is the point of this verse.Some misunderstand and think that love casts out not only fear but law. However, John explains that God’s laws actually define God’s love:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). This connection between God’s love and His 10 Commandments is also made clear in Paul’s writings and the Gospels (Romans 13:9-10; Matthew 22:37-40).
God wants His laws written on our hearts. For example, even if we had no fear of being caught, we should choose to never steal from others—because we love them and God.
We must never lose our respect and appreciation for God, but we should grow beyond being motivated solely by fear and rather be motivated by God’s love—having a deep love and respect for God and His words. Study more about this in our article “How Can We Cast Out Fear?”
A different Greek word for fear is found in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
” The Greek deilia means “cowardice, timidity, fearfulness” (Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study New Testament). Deilia is consistently used in a negative manner, un phobos.
Revelation 21:8, referred to earlier, uses deilos, the adjective form of this word.
Eternal benefits of the fear of the Lord
So, rather than a paralyzing terror, the positive fear of the Lord taught in the Bible is a key element in change. It helps us have a proper, humble perspective of ourselves in relation to our awesome God; it helps us in times of temptation when we need to remember the serious consequences of disobeying God; and it motivates us to become more our loving Creator.
By doing these things, the fear of the Lord helps bring eternal benefits:
- “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18).
- “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27).
- “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23).
Learn more about God’s power, His laws and His love using the following links:
- Who Is God?
- The 10 Commandments for Today
- God Is Love
Another resource that can be helpful is “Knowing God,” our free seven-day Journey. Let us be your guide as you spend a week discovering who God is and what He has in store for you—in this life and the next.
Explaining the Fear of the Lord
The kids and I had a discussion recently about the fear of the Lord and what that truly means. It can be a little more difficult to explain to children. Even adults sometimes misunderstand the phrase “fear of the Lord”. So, I thought I’d spend some time on that today and share an analogy that came to mind to describe this “fear”.
This month we have been reading through a YouVersion bible reading plan called The Wisdom of Proverbs.
It’s a good introduction to the book by reading a chapter of proverbs each day of the month accompanied by a short explanation each day.
Reading a proverb a day is one of my daily routines that I’d to instill in my own children. I learned as a youth that this practice is one of the best ways to grow in wisdom.
Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord
As a result of reading the bible, we’ve learned that the beginning of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding comes from the fear of the Lord.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)
“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” Psalm 111:10 (NLT)
“And this is what he says to all humanity: The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.” Job 28:28 (NLT)
Therefore, if we want to be truly wise and grow in wisdom, we must learn this principle of having the fear of the Lord.
What is this “fear”?
The fear of the Lord has been defined as a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission to God. The Hebrew word for this fear is “yare” which means to be morally reverent. It is to recognize the power or position of something and to respect it as such.
This is different from an alternate definition of fear, “phobos”, which means to have alarm or fright or to be afraid with exceeding fear or terror. This is NOT the term used to describe the fear of the Lord that we are to have.
We need to fear God—not to be afraid, just to have a reverential respect. However, a healthy fear of the Lord also includes the fear of the consequences of sin or disobedience. The fear of the Lord is more than just a feeling. It is a deep respect and awe followed up by obedience, submission and worship.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NIV)
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV)
An analogy of reverential fear
An analogy for the fear of the Lord came to me one morning years ago during one of my quiet times. I recently went and pulled out my old journal to see what I had written about it previously. Here is what it said…
“It makes me think of when you are driving down the road and you spot a police officer. As a result, your heart might jump a bit and you immediately check your speed and wonder if you are doing anything wrong. Then you quickly correct anything you shouldn’t be doing.
You are not afraid of that police officer, but you have a reverential respect for him/her. You know that they have some authority and power and that they can and will use it if you are violating any laws.
Consequently, violations are going to cost you something. Officers protect and bring about justice, and if you are line they will do what’s necessary to protect others or even to protect you from yourself. Just seeing them tends to make you straighten up.
Their mere presence is a deterrent to any wrongdoing.We need to have a similar healthy “fear” of the Lord. He has the ultimate power and authority. God has the ability to protect, and He will bring about justice (in His timing). He will sometimes even protect us from ourselves.
His presence should be a deterrent to any wrongdoing, and because he is always present we should always be on alert. We should frequently be checking ourselves, “checking our speedometer” per se, to correct any misbehavior. Whether or not there’s an immediate consequence, wrong behavior will cost us something.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NIV)
When we’ve accepted Jesus, we have eternal life and are forgiven of any wrongdoing or sin, but we are still called to live by the Spirit not by flesh (Romans 8:4). Our good works should be outward evidence to others of our changed life (Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2, James 2). We should begin to self-correct, and we should always have a healthy fear of the Lord–the ultimate authority.”
I’ve heard the fear of the Lord explained in another way too. It was in one of my most favorite books from childhood, of all places: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. You see, in this allegory book C.S. Lewis uses Aslan, the lion, as a symbol or representation of Jesus.
The characters in the book “fear” Aslan as we are to fear God. They have a respect and awe for him as well as an understanding of the power that he possesses.
They comprehend that this power can be dangerous to those who would cross him or to those who would hurt the ones he loves.
I love the conversation in the book where the girls, Lucy and Susan, are learning about Aslan from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe quote:
“Is—is he a man?” asked Lucy. “Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
(Source: Lewis, C. S., and Pauline Baynes. “Chapter 8.” The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. 79-80. Print.)
It’s been said that God is not safe, but He is good. God will fight for and protect those He calls his own.
“For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 (ESV)
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Take Some Practical Steps to Understand and Exercise the Fear of the Lord:
- Understand that the fear of the Lord will make you wise and that we all have a duty to fear God. Those who want to be wise beyond measure, obtaining true prosperity in life, must first learn to fear God.
- Realize that the fear of the Lord does not mean to be afraid (with fright or terror). The word used in the bible depicts a different kind of fear. God is a loving father and does not want his children to be afraid of Him.
- Know that the “fear” the bible depicts means to show a reverential respect, recognizing the power, position, and authority that God holds. He is a king, after all, and should be addressed and treated as such.
- To show true fear, take that position of reverence a step further by following it up with obedience, submission and worship of God on a regular basis. It is more than just a mindset or attitude. It is also action. Do your actions show that you fear the Lord? Would any of your actions change if He was standing physically before you? Whether you see Him physically or not, He is still there.
- Keep in mind that God is not safe, but He is good. To demonstrate this point practically, think of other things that are not safe but are still good. Think of things that could cause harm if not treated with the proper care and respect and in the way they were intended. fire. Fire is good when used for warmth, cooking, as a source of energy, etc. However, when we don’t treat fire with the proper respect and in the way it was intended, it can be dangerous. Other examples could include electricity, knives, and medication. Can you think of any others?
What are some ways that you have learned the fear of the Lord? Give us some ideas by leaving a comment below
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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
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Five Prayers to Grow in the Fear of the Lord
As believers, we know we are to honor and fear the Lord, but our culture doesn’t lend itself to a reverential disposition. Instead, our culture does us the further disservice of not having much appreciation for the truth.
To acquire both—reverence and truth—we have to search the Scriptures and combat the messages we inevitably hear. As we do, the truth about Christ and who he is leads to honor, fear, and reverence—for our God is matchless and true.
We are a people of the faith—belonging to the “body of truth,” or as Jude puts it, “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The faith is precious, Christocentric knowledge that we have inherited as believers; by reflecting upon these passages of Scripture, we can begin to grow in our fluency with it and deepen our reverence for God.
1. His Gospel Plan
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)
Father, how contrary this is to my natural disposition, that in being sinned against, you made a plan to come remarkably nearer—when I want to avoid people whose sin affects me! Through a detailed plan of action and decree revealed through prophecies in the Holy Scriptures, your plan is specific and glorious. I hold dear this singular pattern, that Christ died, was buried, was raised, and made appearances; it is true that you are the resurrected Lord, and I join the chorus of believers throughout history bearing witness to this fact today.
2. His Humble Mission
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the ness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11)
Father, you are glorified in the humble mission and, then, the glorious exaltation of Christ. My obedience comes through Christ’s, the indescribably greater obedience; and my humility in view of him is infinitely less than the humility Christ assumed.His Name is exalted in every way—in true servanthood, obedience, and humility, and, therefore, in honor bestowed to his Name in the heavens and earth forever.
So every single person will praise the exalted, worthy Lord with their mouths on the day you’ve appointed.
3. His Exclusive Kingship
…Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:12-16)
Father, when Christ was in his trial to death, speaking with Pilot, he confessed his Kingship, and gave testimony that truth is from God through himself (John 18:36-37).
You alone have authority and belong to light beyond comprehension, sight, or survival by us—except for believers who are permitted near through your sacrifice. I praise you that death could not keep you; you alone are immortal of your own accord.
In the presence of many witnesses throughout my life, may I always speak the truth about you, as you did.
4. His Inexhaustible Glory
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:54-56)
Father, this is the grace you give those called to die for you—remembrance that the Son of Man, the Christ, is irrevocably positioned at the right hand of God. Christ is my security and hope in every trial, and would be in martyrdom, should you ever call me to it. Your glory is inexhaustible; you are worthy of my life and my death; your exaltation is my hope.
5. His Overcoming Power
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5)
Father, culture tells me that there is no exclusivity to our faith, but I know better. I know that you are the only reality, the only Judge, and the only Savior. What kind providence you have given to me, and those I call my family in Christ! Who can possibly overcome but us who are found in you?
Let’s Fear the Lord Together
The death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of Christ; the humble mission of Christ from the Father and glorious exaltation at this moment; the confession that proceeded from his mouth of exclusive Kingship and truth; the glory of God and position of Christ that gives unlimited courage for those who believe; the power of Christ who alone overcomes, and us in him—let’s revere the Lord together!
 Lightner, Robert P. “Philippians”. In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.  A short summary of John H. Leith’s longer list in Christian Doctrine from the Bible to the Present