Why do people fear God? Do we fear His wrath? Do we fear His word? Do we fear that He will come back to haunt us? Do we fear His punishment for our sins? Do we fear that He will strike us down for our sins? Or, do we fear that the good news of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins isn’t true?
God isn’t a vengeful scary big guy who wants to hurt us, as the world wants us to believe. Rather, He is seen a lot of times as a loving father figure that we can turn to for anything and everything. Although He did do some really scary things in the Bible, such as turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, destroying the Egyptians and He had no trouble showing His power with the plagues, and saving Daniel and Joseph.
However, He also showed His love and power by saving Noah and his family from the flood and promising He would never flood the Earth again.
His aim isn’t to hurt us either. He only wants what is best for us. He loves us, each and every one of us as His own children. He wants His children to be happy, not to fear Him in the way of actually thinking ‘oh man what is God going to do to me now?’ If we think like that all the time, we will never get to know Him for the loving father and almighty person He really is. We will also miss out on the goodness that He displays in our lives.
The problem with the phrase “fear God” is that it can and does get taken literally. People think it means that they literally have to be afraid of the man in the sky. On the contrary. Fearing God means acknowledging Him in our lives and realizing the good that He has done and what He can do for us in our lives. Some verses about what it actually means to fear God in the Bible include:
Proverbs,1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So, it literally means getting to know God on a personal, deep, intimate level on both spiritual and emotional levels and even physically. It also means to better understand Him, is the beginning of wisdom. It’s not that being afraid of God has ever gotten us to wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says “13 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.” This verse means to tell us how important it is for us to keep His commandments.
Proverbs 8:13 says, 13 “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” This means that the Lord doesn’t like evil, and if we want to be like Him, it also means hating evil, throwing away our pride, forgetting about our arrogance. We should try not to sin and say anything against others or against God Himself. We can also teach others to not sin, by being gentle with them in our words and ways, the way God is with us.
If God didn’t want us to understand Him, why would He even bother giving us specific verses and instructions in His word and in life in general? He did it because He loves us and wants a personal relationship with each of us.
Proverbs 14:26 says, 26 “Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” This means that those who know and love God, have a secure place in their lives here on Earth and in Heaven. They should always teach their children about loving God and getting to know Him for themselves, as well.
Proverbs 3:7 says, 7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” This verse means we should try our best to stay away from evil, and to not think we know anything better than the Lord does. God knows everything about us and what is in our hearts. Fearing Him is to have much knowledge of Him and long to get to know Him more.
Luke 1:50 says, “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” God wants to extend His mercy and Grace to those who know and love Him. He doesn’t want to be known as the God who hurts His people. He wants to bring us the joy of His salvation and the joy of a prosperous life, both here on Earth and in His Heavenly home.
We’re the young ones eager to learn and He is the teacher who is eager to teach us how to become better people and better citizens of Heaven. God isn’t always a strict teacher, either. He is more of a loving mentor. Only when He knows He has to be tough on people to get His point across, will He do it. Other times, He gives us subtle hints and warnings as well as lessons in our lives. We just have to be in tune with what He is saying.
With the verse of the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, think of it this way- God is the teacher, we are the student. We have so much to learn yet in our lives, with God walking with us. God didn’t give us any spirit of fear, rather He wants us to do things in His name without fear.
We don’t have to be afraid of Him at all because He wants to know each one of us. We don’t have to fear teaching others about His love, because He already knows those who will accept Him and those who won’t. We don’t have to fear persecution for being Christians and for telling others the good news, because we are fulfilling His work in our lives when we walk in His ways and delight in His will.
May God bless you as you learn more about Him every day.