The Fear of the Lord
Father, may I see Your vision for my life. Today, I want to seek Your approval and fulfill Your purposes for me.
Read PSALM 34:1-22
 Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“From a biblical perspective there is nothing neurotic about fearing God. ‘Fear of the Lord’ is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God” (Ellen Davis).
I was brought up in Clan Munro country in the Scottish Highlands. On my way to school I would pass the historic clan crest mounted high in the village street with its motto: “Dread God.” This somber dictum hardly makes the most attractive advertising line! It might not appeal even to some churches! Yet, the clan motto reflects a strong biblical focus we can ill afford to lose. The popular meaning of both “dread” and “fear” may have narrowed over the years, but this does not alter the fact that both are biblical terms employed to describe a desirable response to God. What, then, is the fear of the Lord?
The author of Psalm 34 offers to tell us (11)! He adopts the role of a Hebrew sage who invites us to become his disciples. He tells us fearing the Lord involves three different, but related, activities. The first is reverent worship. The context of the psalm is adoration; the opening verses radiate a sense of the awesomeness of God. The psalmist invites us to join him in extolling the Lord (1-3) and to rejoice in what he has done for us (4,6; c.f. 1 Sam. 12:24). The second activity is enthusiastic service (14). Fearing the Lord involves doing good to others and seeking peace. Peace does not simply arrive; it has to be passionately pursued. The third activity is honorable conduct (13,14). Fearing the Lord involves turning from evil: from a loose tongue, a proud heart, an immoral life (13; c.f. Prov. 8:13; Deut. 10:12,13).
Perhaps the greatest blessing of fearing the Lord is our deliverance from all our fears (4). This word for fear is different; it describes the fear of divine judgment. The psalmist is anticipating Paul in Romans 8:1!
“Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it [the church] increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31). What would living in the fear of the Lord look like in you and in your church?
Mighty God, as my awe of You grows, my fears diminish. I praise You for all that You mean to me.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.