Fear of God is Fundamental
Fear of God should be the fundamental principle that governs everyone’s life. By this I mean that “awe, reverence, and respect for God” should serve as the very foundation of a person’s life.
Fear of God is the beginning of knowledge (Prov 1:7). Until one has the fear of God, he has no foundation for the rest of his learning.
Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). The man who fears God will not live as he pleases, but will let Him establish his steps (Ps 37:23).
Fear of the God is the foundation of obedience (Eccl 12:13). The fear of God caused Noah to build the ark (Heb 11:7), Abraham to offer up his son (Gen 22:12), and Jesus to go to the cross (Heb 5:7).
Fear of God is the underlying basis of every moral decision. One who fears God lets His commandments define “righteous” and “evil”. He hates evil and turns away from it (Prov 8:13; Job 1:8). He lives upright, realizing that to do otherwise is to despise God (Prov 14:12).
Fear of God is the motivation for worship. The man who fears God will bow in reverence to praise God because he recognizes how great that He is (Ps 5:7; 96:4).
Do you fear God? If not, do you see the importance of fearing Him? It is fundamental to knowledge, wisdom, obedience, moral decisions, and worship. But how can you develop the fear of God, if you don’t have it, or develop more fear, if you do?
Fear of God is Rooted in Creation
Why should all men fear God? Psalm 33:6-9 says it well- “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
Men do not have to open a Bible to understand that the world is here, not by accident or chance, but by deliberate and designed Creation. The things that are made indicate that they have a Maker- Someone with eternal power and a Divine nature- so that men are without excuse if they do not recognize the existence of a Creator (Rom 1:20). Common sense tells us that the universe has a Builder, for men understand that houses just don’t build themselves, but every house is built by someone (Heb 3:4).
The heavens continually speak a voiceless, yet powerful message to men. By day, men can see the sun and, by night, the moon and the stars. They are the heaven’s continual message about the glory of God (Ps 19:1-6). And, the heavens add even more to their message with beautiful clouds, vivid lightning, booming thunder, brilliant rainbows, dark eclipses, and unique snowflakes.
Man’s natural response when he recognizes that he has a Creator should be to stand in awe of Him and praise Him (Ps 96:1-9). As the songwriter Carl Boberg put it, “O, Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed, then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
If the Creator has spoken words to man, then man should consider it of utmost importance to know what He said. Out of fear, that is, respect for His God, he should make what He has said the foundation of all the knowledge that He gains in a lifetime (Prov 1:7).
If the Creator has given man wisdom to live by, then man should listen to the One who had the wisdom to make the universe. Yes, man should respect the One who put the four seasons in place enough to let Him guide His steps (Ps 37:23).
And, if the Creator has commanded man what to do and what not to do- if he has defined what is “good” and what is “evil”- then man should fear (respect) Him enough to accept His standard of morality and to submit to it (Eccl 12:13). Man, the clay, has no business questioning God, the Potter (Is 29:15-16; 45:9-10). In the words of the hymn writer Adelaide Pollard, his attitude should be, “Mould me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”
Fear of God Comes from Faith in Inspiration
Through God’s natural Creation man can see and know the wisdom, power, and glory of God. He can conclude that he should praise God for who He is and what He has given. The rest of men’s fearful response to God comes from his faith that God has given men a special revelation through the Scriptures.
If the Scriptures are not inspired, that is, “God-breathed”, then the Bible was authored by mere men. If men wrote the Bible, then the knowledge men received from reading it would be no more significant than the knowledge gained by reading an encyclopedia. If men wrote the Bible, then its guidance would be no greater than any self-help book on the best seller list. If men wrote the Bible, then its com-mands are not moral absolutes; for what men write on the editorial page of the newspaper about proper behavior would be just as weighty. If men wrote the Bible, then men could choose to disobey its commands without any fear of Divine wrath and retribution.
So, the question of the Scriptures is of vital importance. If God breathed out His word and then men wrote it down in the Bible, then the fear of God should be be-hind man’s response to it. If God did not breathe out His word in the Bible, men should not and must not respect the Bible above other books. This is true especially because over and over it claims to be from God. Expressions such as “Thus says the Lord” are found 3,808 times in just the Old Testament! So, if the Bible is not the word of the Lord, it is nothing but a lie!
Should the Bible be accepted as God’s revelation just because it claims that it is? No! Many books claim Divine inspiration, but that doesn’t make it so! There must be evidence within the Bible (or any other book claiming inspiration) that men could not have written it on their own, but they had to have Divine help to write it.
The Bible provides evidence to back up its claim of inspiration. There is no proven contradiction in the Bible, although about 40 men wrote on over 20,000 topics over a period of 1500 years. The Bible also has unity in its story line, as a “mystery” book summed up in Jesus, the Christ who came to resolve the problem of sin (Eph 1:9-10). There are also numerous predictions in the Bible whose fulfilment centuries later can be established by history. Most notable are the predictions about the Christ (over 400 of them), all fulfilled in one person, Jesus (Lk 24:44-47).
If you haven’t studied such evidence, please take the time to do so. You will then see the reason to have faith in the inspiration of the Bible. Therefore, you will treasure its knowledge, follow its wisdom, live by its moral code, and obey its commands. Why? Because you believe that the words of the Bible are your Creator’s special revelation and you fear Him.
No Fear of God?
It is scary to live in a place that does not fear God. Abraham was so afraid of those in Gerar that he lied and said his wife was his sister (Gen 20:11). Without the fear of God in a society there is nothing strong enough to keep wickedness in check, including murder.
Psalm 10 gives us a picture of men who lack the fear of God. Their attitude is either “There is no God” (10:4), “God will not see what I am doing” (10:11), or “God sees what I am doing”, but He will not do anything about it” (10:13). Therefore, they live wickedly, without care (10:5-6).
Romans 1 paints a disturbing picture of those who did not fear God, despite evidence of a Creator. They did not honor Him or give Him thanks. They made up their own worship. They committed and gave approval to all kinds of wickedness including homosexuality which is described as “degrading”, “unnatural”, “indecent”, and “error” (1:18-32).
Our society is becoming a scary place to live. Many are living without the fear of God. They do not worship God or else worship Him as they please. They have no knowledge of His will and are not living by His moral standards. Let us realize that, in every nation, it is the man who fears God and does what is right that is welcome to Him (Acts 10:35). Does your life show evidence that you fear God?