The most often repeated command in the Bible is “Do not fear.” The fact that it is given over two hundred times is key to its significance and importance. It means that we will have times when we experience fear but it should not overwhelm us. Fear is a big subject and can have roots from the past which need to be healed so that we can be delivered and set free. This is usually a journey to the Father’s heart where we find safety and security. Fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools to keep God’s children from living out His plan and purpose for their life because it acts as a barrier to faith.
So what is the fear that drives out fear? It is the fear of the Lord – one of the most important spiritual concepts found throughout the Bible. It is a frequent command given to God’s people in the Old Testament and it certainly applies to believers today. As we grow in the fear of the Lord we are freed from ungodly fear, which can enslave us, to be at peace with ourselves. The fear of the Lord is not the kind of fear that makes us want to hide from Him. It is the opposite. It is a deep reverence for God and His authority, associated with a true desire to please Him. This is a possibility because the Holy Spirit has put agape love into our hearts; a love that keeps growing and is worked out in obedience.
As our text for today explains, fearing the Lord comes from an undivided heart which desires to walk in God’s ways and God’s truth. In other words it is single mindedness; choosing God’s ways in a world devoid of His presence. There are so many blessings attached to the fear of the Lord. Firstly, it will keep us from sinning (Exodus 20:20). It gives us a deep desire to avoid any kind of evil and obey His commands (Proverbs 16:6). This is solely because, by grace, we have been given a revelation of the character of God, from which we have learned to love Him intimately. This, of course, doesn’t mean we ever become sinless. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. And the closer we get to the light, the more it reveals hidden attitudes of the heart which sometimes shock us. God’s blessings are not simply for us as individuals. They are generational. They are also for our children and their children (Deuteronomy 5:29).
Ungodly fear is often rooted in a deep sense of insecurity and lack of safety, which makes us anxious. The fear of the Lord is the opposite of this. It gives us a deep sense of security and the assurance that we are under His protection whatever happens. It is a fortress in times of trouble, a refuge where we may hide (Proverbs 14:26). When the enemy attacks, we are promised angelic protection and deliverance, ‘The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them’ (Psalm 34:7).
Whenever the Bible speaks of the fear of the Lord, there is a promise attached to it. These promises include direction in life (Psalm 25:12), the provision of all our needs (Psalm 34:9), a living experience of God’s love and compassion (Psalm 103:11), spiritual wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 9:10), and even physical healing and wholeness (Proverbs 3:7-8).
In Jesus we are given a true revelation of our Father in heaven. When we meditate on His character, thank Him for His amazing love and faithfulness and learn to love Him and fear Him with a holy fear, we can rest assured that the fear of the Lord is the antidote to all other fear.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave Jesus to die on the cross and to rise again. Thank You for every blessing poured into my life. Please teach me more of the fear that drives out ungodly fear. I pray for an undivided heart and for single-mindedness to make choices that honour You. Please fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit and make me a blessing to someone today. I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
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