Why should we fear God? For starters, we’re instructed to. It is closely related to obeying God, which is another thing we’re instructed to do, of course!
Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Ecclesiastes 12:13 … Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?”
Fearing God and obeying the commandments is for our good. There are many benefits to fearing the Lord, which comes in connection to obedience to the Lord, and there are unending benefits to obedience. Read some of the gifts of fearing God.
Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
Proverbs 1:7a The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
Luke 1:50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
How do we get the fear of the Lord? We remember his majesty, his power, his bigness, his holiness.
Deuteronomy 10:20-21 ESV You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.
Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Acts 5:4-11 …“You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Acts 12:23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
Here’s a story that’s a little different than the others. It’s the story of David and Absalom from 2 Samuel 15. David sinned and was forgiven, but he suffered the consequences for the rest of his life. Two of his sons end up dead. One of them was killed because he tried to take the throne from David. God is loving and our punishment is taken by Jesus on the cross, but sin has consequences. Only God knows if this is what David needed in order to be kept from future sin, but he lived with the burden the rest of his life. I think it’s a very good story for getting the fear of the Lord.
Lesson Point: God is fearsome! But knowing Him in the fear of the Lord can bless our lives by helping us choose to obey Him.
Challenge Question: Read this portion of Psalm 18. Yes, God is great and awesome and is to be feared, but when He is for you, that is a very good thing! Here His child is in need of help. God goes “mama bear” to deliver His child from danger. The challenge question is to ask yourself if you know you are on God’s good side. Do you believe God is for you?
6 In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
7 Then the earth shook and trembled;
The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken,
Because He was angry.
8 Smoke went up from His nostrils,
And devouring fire from His mouth;
Coals were kindled by it.
Then verse 19 … He delivered me because He delighted in me.