Fear of the Lord

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus in Isaiah 11:1-3, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord.” How does one “delight in the fear of the Lord?” It sounds more like a contradiction, than a blessing. You don’t delight in the fear of snakes, or any other fear object. In fact you are more inclined to run away from, rather than run toward the object of your fears.

We have to understand the nature of God in order to decipher what it means to fear the Lord. Recall from last week that a fear object must possess two attributes in order to be legitimate. It must be present, and have some perceived power. The fact that God is omnipresent and omnipotent is what makes Him the ultimate fear object. All others fear objects pale in comparison. We do not worship God, because He needs us to tell Him who He is. We worship God, because we need to know and be continuously aware of His divine attributes. If you believed that God was also vengeful and vindictive, you would likely run from His presence, but where would you go? “If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Ps. 139:8). You can’t run from or hide from God, but you don’t want to.

We are living in days of shadow governments, conspiracy theories, and corrupt leaders who would take away our freedom. Because of technology such people can spy on us with drones, read our emails, listen to our phone conversations. So what? If you are living a righteous life, what do you have to hide? “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy, and he shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread, then He shall become a sanctuary” (Is. 8:12,13). The fear of God trumps all others.

“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. He nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the people. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (Ps. 33:8-11).

Dr. Neil

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