Fearing God Without Being Afraid
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 25:8-15 | Exodus 37:1 – 38:31 | Matthew 28:1-20 | Proverbs 9:9-10
Today’s Scripture Focus: Proverbs 9:9-10
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV)
Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom. It is among the most admirable qualities a person can possess (Proverbs 31). The one who fears God is promised many blessings, including guidance “in the way chosen for him” and an intimate relationship with God in which the “Lord confides in those who fear Him” (Psalm 25). But what does it mean to fear God?
It does not mean being afraid of God. Some people live in servile fear—and that is not the kind of fear God delights in. Being afraid of God will not lead to worship or obedience.
Sinclair Ferguson defines the fear of God this way: “That indefinable mixture of reverence, fear, pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what He has done for us.”
A. W. Tozer speaks of the fear of God as “astonished reverence.” He writes: “I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most satisfying emotion the human soul can know.”
To rightly revere God, to stand in awe of Him, is to fear Him. This “astonished reverence” is foundational to a life lived in the fullness of his blessing, a life of intimate fellowship that brings the Father pleasure and brings our hearts deep satisfaction.