I have long thought that the fear of the Lord means a deep reverence for who He is. I hadn’t studied much more than that, but knew that from this reverence flows our actions, loves and worldview. Our view of God is the foundation for our entire lives.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7
After spending time with my dearest friend this summer and wrestling through deep struggles in both of our lives — I sat there with emotional tears in my eyes. “I hear fear,” she said and it struck a chord within me. I have processed fear for what seems like forever and thought, “This doesn’t feel like fear.” But it was and I became determined to understand what was overflowing from my heart. The stress and anxiety were clear symptoms of something inside.
It started with a prayer like this. “Lord I want to fear you more. Your wrath, mercy, justice and plan for our lives is not about our wants and desires. Anxious toil comes from seeking our own wants. The more my eyes are on you, the less I think about myself.” I wanted a renewed understanding of fear and my initial desperate plea was “I am afraid. Help me take my eyes off myself.”
In that same prayer I wrote, “‘He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.’ Psalm 145:19…I don’t fear another baby, or moving, or ministry because I fear the Lord. He is able, when I am not. He is sovereign when I am not. He sees all and will protect or guide us, when I can not. Help me to rest in that, find comfort in that and peace in that.” I was scribbling the struggles of my heart. I wasn’t experiencing these truths by any means, but I was speaking them to my weary mind. In God’s faithfulness, the Word met me right there.
Different versions say sleep satisfied, rest satisfied, rest content, and abide satisfied.
The anxious and fearful toil I was experiencing was coming from a place of not fearing the Lord. I was seeing first hand that the fear of the Lord was more than just a reverence for Him. It is a place of REST knowing WHO He is and all the mighty works He is capable of.
Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
We can find rest in the fear of the Lord. It is a place of beautiful protection and intimate peace knowing that the fear of the Lord is a refuge for us. It is not just a view of God, but a posture of surrender under His power.
A sweet lady I disciple was reading through Exodus and brought this verse to me. “Hey I thought of what you had shared.” Exodus 20:20 “‘Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.'”
How and why is fear distorted? How can anxiety spiral so quickly into fearful fret? I’m not a Hebrew scholar by any means, but from what I found it is the same ‘fear, (yare)’ in Exodus 20:20. Fear is distorted when we see ourselves as God rather than self-sufficient in Him. He sustains everything.
We cannot predict, protect or plan. Our slightest attempt to do so produces anxious toil. Instead, in fearing the Lord,
the fear of circumstances, or stress, or unforeseeable trials vanish into confidence and contentment. As Christians, we can confidently and contently abide in the fear of the Lord.
What is keeping you up at night? What is the last thing you think of before bed or the first thing on your mind? Could it be that these things are magnified because our view of God is actually quite small?
After years of never ending change and a future that may possibly hold never ending change, I can only have a renewed rest and confidence in the fear of the Lord. If I take my eyes off Jesus and put them on any of our circumstances, every fear and doubt can creep in.
Psalm 103:17-18 “But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.”
Yes, the fear of the Lord brings obedience. But this obedience is not only out of reverence for Him. We can obey with joyful hope and a blessed assurance that He will carry us, cover us and not call us to face more than what is best for us. As we abide, He satisfies.
Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” I don’t know what you are facing, but God does. I simply pray that whatever it is will drive you to Jesus, in whom there is true rest and hope.