In our last Relationship Tuesday, we talked about God’s desire to have a relationship with us--that He wants us to know Him and be known by Him in a relational sense. We looked at examples of God having relationship with men throughout the Bible. One example of those men was Job, and we looked at despite everything that Job went through, He didn’t know God relationally until God showed up and introduced Himself.
Do you remember how God described Job? Job 1:8 says, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’”
And Satan responds, “Does He fear the Lord for nothing?”
What have you been taught about the “fear of the Lord”? What does it mean to fear God?
I’ve heard a lot of sermons and read a lot of books that say having “the fear of the Lord” means to have an awe and respect for Him. And I think we should be in awe of Him and respect Him, but what happens when someone in the Bible comes face to face with the Almighty God?
When God appears to Abraham, Abraham falls on his face (Genesis 17:3). When God confronts Job, Job drops down and says, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). When the glory of the Lord filled the temple, the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud (2 Chronicles 5:13,14). When the Lord appears to Daniel, he is frightened and falls on his face (Daniel 8:17). Ezekiel is frightened and falls down when he sees God (Ezekiel 1:28). Isaiah has the same thing happen (Isaiah 6:5). And lest we think this is all Old Testament, let’s not forget John who also falls on his face in fear like a dead man when he sees the glorified Lord (Revelation 1:17).
It seems to me that these are not just moments of awe and reverence but real fear. Maybe even terror since a lot them faint away like dead men.
What do you think about this idea that the fear of the Lord means terror: the idea that if you were to stand before God right this minute, you’re first response wouldn’t be a big hug fest, not a moment of confrontation where you get to ask about deep theological questions you have, but sheer absolute terror?
Why does this idea make us so uncomfortable? And why is a real fear of the Lord such an important part of our relationship with God?
Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If we skip this step of fearing God, all of our ideas about our relationship with God will be founded on foolishness instead of the wisdom of the Lord.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at more aspects of the fear of the Lord like why we fear Him, what happens when we don’t fear Him, the difference between fearing God and fearing punishment, and what John means when he says, “perfect love drives out fear.”
Next Week: John and the Fear of the Lord