Fearing God Is The Beginning Of Knowledge

Photo by Rene Asmussen: https://www.pexels.com/photo/grayscale-photo-of-woman-peeking-on-planks-25757/

A subject that I have heard come up repeatedly in our Church lately is “Fear of the Lord”. What is “Fear of the Lord”? What is NOT “Fear of the Lord?”

Illustrate: Over a decade ago, in the Baptist Association that I was a part of, one of our associate local Churches began to baptize and receive into membership those who were living together in same sex marriages. Though every Baptist Church enjoys autonomy in how they conduct their services and operations, every Baptist Association is also autonomous. To join a Baptist Association you agree to its doctrinal view. As an Association we affirmed the Baptist Faith & Message (2000). By baptizing and receiving practicing LGBTQ persons into Church membership, this particular local Church rejected not only the Bible teachings, but also the Southern Baptist Faith and Message, portions of which read:

XV. The Christian and Social Order

In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. ..”

XVIII. The Family

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.”

Our Association asked the Pastor of this Church to come and speak to the matter. Though every Church is autonomous, every Association is autonomous in which churches they will bind together with. When that Pastor came to speak, though I do not remember the man’s name, I remember his opening “monologue”. He opened with …

A middle aged woman named Susan had a heart attack. Being rushed to the hospital, she is revived – but not before she has a near death experience. During that experience she meets God, and asks ‘is it time for me to leave this earth?’. God tells her, ‘No. You’ve got another 30 years coming to you. Go back!’ After her recovery Susan decides that – since she has 30 more years – she would get her body “fixed”. She had a face lift, liposuction, laser surgery on her eyes, breast augmentation … if it could be done, she had it done. Leaving the hospital after her final “surgical fix” she steps out into the path of a speeding ambulance, and dies instantly. Arriving before God she complains. ‘God, You told me I had 30 more years.’ God replies, ‘Why Susan, I didn’t recognize you’.

I see a few strained grins, but frankly I didn’t find it to be funny. It does, however, show an absolute disrespect for God, and Who God is. The joke is not funny because:

  • No one goes to Heaven without a saving knowledge of God through faith in Christ Jesus (John 14:6; 1 Peter 2:4; John 3:13; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:26).
  • No one can meet God face to face and live (John 1:18; Exodus 33:20)
  • The Bible tells us that “there is one God, and one Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus speaks for the Father.
  • Nothing can be hidden from God (Hebrews 4:13; Luke 8:17)

I could go on and on. But it was evident to me that this Pastor of that particular local Church had absolutely no fear of God.

What Exactly Is “The Fear Of The Lord”? Solomon Speaks.

When people hear “Fear of the Lord” they assume it means the kind of fear that causes one to run and hide. The fear of the Lord can be that way. For instance, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden and heard God coming, the Bible says:

Genesis 3:8 … Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

When questioned by God as to why they hid themselves, Adam said:

Genesis 3:10 … I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Adam hid from our Holy God because he disobeyed the Lord – and rightfully was afraid. This is a right fear of God. Or else, we can see the fear of God revealed at the final judgment:

Revelation 20::11 … I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

These are instances of “fearing God” that are valid. But this is not what God is commanding us to do in the Scripture when we are told to “fear the Lord”.

Fear of the Lord is NOT a phobia, but is a state of always putting God in first place, and all else second.

Fear of the Lord means to be more concerned about what God has said than your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter followers believe. King Solomon became the greatest King this world has ever seem by “fearing the Lord”. When Solomon prayed to God, the Lord came to him in 1 Kings 3:5-28 and said:

Solomon, you can have anything you want. Ask and I will give it.”

Solomon did not ask God for riches, or power, or fame. Solomon asked God to make him the best king he could possibly be. He said, “God, give me the wisdom to rule and judge your people well”. This is “fear of the Lord”. It is a desire to put God first in all that you do. Because Solomon “feared the Lord”, God gave him the promise,

You will have riches and honor all your life.
There will be no other king in the world as great as you!”

When Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs, he highlighted the importance of fearing God as a believer.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The “Fear of the Lord” is the starting place for KNOWLEDGE. Adrian Rogers said, “Knowledge is learned, but wisdom is given”. Knowledge deals with facts, truths, reality. Knowledge can be gained by study. Wisdom comes from God. Wisdom shows us how to apply the knowledge we have to our lives. The Bible says:

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Fear of the Lord means that we understand that proper living can only come by submission to Him. Solomon said fools despise wisdom and instruction. The word fool is used in scripture for those who despise God and His Word, for those who reject the Bible for human philosophies. Twice we are told in the Psalms, The FOOL hath said in his heart, THERE IS NO GOD” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). President Ronald Reagan said many years ago,

I do not understand Atheism. Sometimes when I’m faced with an atheist, I am tempted to invite him to the greatest gourmet dinner that one could ever serve, and when we have finished eating that magnificent dinner, to ask him if he believes there is a cook.”

Solomon speaks sixteen times on what the “fear of the Lord” is, more than any other Book in the Scripture.

We previously saw that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of KNOWLEDGE”. Even in Solomon’s day people turned away from “fear of the Lord” in favor of humanism and vain philosophies. Since God is the Giver of Wisdom, to turn from Him is to cut off the Source of wisdom, to become more and more foolish. They bring upon themselves destruction:

Proverbs 1:27-30 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Putting human systems of faith above faith in the Creator leads us down a wormhole to destruction. Because Israel turned from “fear of the Lord”, they were conquered from without. Because America turns from “fear of the Lord” we are headed toward the same abyss!

It is “fear of the Lord” that encourages a people
to avoid what God has called “sin” (Exodus 20:20)

Proverbs 2:3-5 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

God is willing to share the truth with anyone who seeks it out. People do not have a “fear of the Lord” today because the average person has no respect for God’s Word, the Bible. People would rather watch a re-run on television than read the Word of God. People would rather go to a park or a ball game on Sunday than pick up the Holy Book.

We actually cherish what we do, and do what we cherish. As a Christian studies and pursues the truths that God has given in His Scripture, that Christian will begin to “fear the Lord”, to respect God as He is. God is not like us. We have limits. God is limitless. Jesus said:

Luke 1:37 … with God nothing shall be impossible

When we “fear the Lord” and put God first, we have the promise that God will lengthen and bless our lives.

Proverb 3:1-8 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear {יָרֵא yârêʼ, [yaw-ray]} the Lord, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Fear of the Lord is to fully trust in God with all your heart.
Fear of the Lord is to distrust your own abilities.
Fear of the Lord is to be open to His direction.
Fear of the Lord is to seek wisdom from God only.
Fear of the Lord is to reject evil in any form.

When we put God first “fearing” Him above all others, God physically and spiritually blesses our lives.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Word Study: Those who choose to “tolerate” sin rather than to reject it have no fear of God. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. What is evil? It is pride, to elevate what you “feel” above what God has declared. After PRIDE there is ARROGANCY, the Hebrew gâʼôwn, [pronounced gaw-ohn’] which means “to be majestic, puffed up, visibly pompous”. This is accompanied with a froward” (tahpuḵôṯ) or “perverse mouth”.

Rather than carrying the Cross for Christ amid the jeers and japes of the world, those with no fear of God carry the rainbow flag to the delight and adulation of the lost crowd.

Many today are afraid to stand up for their faith in Christ. When we fear to stand up with God and lovingly speak the truth, we become part of the darkness rather than children of light. Solomon encouraged his Israel, saying:

Proverbs 14:25-27 A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies. 26 In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

To stand up with God in Christ while rejecting the false philosophies of this world will deliver souls from death and damnation. In putting God first, the Gospel leads people away from darkness and death and into the light of God.

Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

It is God Who made us, and God Who knows what is best for us.

Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When we reject the way of Christ and the way of God’s Word for our own path, we make ourselves miserable. Those who fear the Lord have the promise of life. Jesus said:

John 10:10 … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

If we would choose life, we must choose to fear the Lord. To fail to fear the Lord is to put yourself, your family, your community, and your nation at risk.

God Can Protect Us If We Put Him First

I have heard it said that God does not expect our fear, but our love. I cannot agree with that. Fear of the Lord is bound to the Fatherhood of God. God told His people Israel when they went into the Promised Land:

Deuteronomy 6:1-3 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear {yârêʼ, [yaw-ray’]} the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

God sent Israel into a land filled with not only milk and honey, but also filled with enemies. God told His people that He had given them commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them. Israel was to focus on pleasing God by doing what God said. Israel was to fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments. As long as their focus was on putting God first, Israel would be protected from the superior forces around them. As a nation Israel would increase mightily because they did that which God told them to do.

Our Lord Jesus applied the same standard to what He told us to do. He said:

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

To not only HEAR but to DO what Jesus said is to have fear for the Lord. It is to fear the consequences of rejecting His directives. America has no fear of God today, thus we make laws that are the total opposite of what the Bible clearly teaches. We normalize sinful activity, and say that such behavior is beneath the scrutiny of God. Yet this is absolutely not true. We are to fear the Lord – to be in awe of Him:

Psalm 33:6-13 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear {yârêʼ, [yaw-ray]} the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. 11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.

We fear God because of His utter immensity. He merely spoke, and with a few words uttered all things into existence. We fear the Lord, that is, stand in awe of Him. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. God is not the “Big Man upstairs”, as some have depicted Him. God is not the “Sky Daddy” as others have mocked Him. God is immense in power. People plot and plan against God and His Word. Congress passes laws that mock God and creation. And yet, The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. In the end God dismantles the evil, for the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. God cannot be thwarted or turned against. His ways will stand forever. Solomon not only wrote Proverbs, but Ecclesiastes, a series of ancient sermons. In

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

Those who reject the Gospel and the salvation only found by faith in Christ may prosper for a timer on this earth. But in time their feet shall slip, for they are not embraced of God.

If you reject Jesus as Lord and Savior, you should fear God because judgment in an eternal lake of firer is coming. If you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you should fear God because He punishes the child who disobeys Him (see Hebrews 12:5-11). David Hocking wrote in his essay, The Fear of God:

So, what is the fear of the Lord? It is the knowledge of God Himself. When you fear God, you have decided that knowing who God is is more important than anything else in life. Are you following? … You say, what is the fear of God? It is the key to knowledge and understanding and wisdom. It is also the knowledge of God Himself, and it is respect for the power of God’s Word. You stand in awe. You fear, why?-because He spoke and it was done. … When you fear God, you hate what He hates. You hate sin. You say, “What is the fear of God?” It is the hatred of sin. And what do we see in our culture? We see a giant toleration of sin. We see also a redefinition of sin-things that God says are wrong, people are saying that it is okay. Listen, if you fear God, what that fear of God is, is a hatred of sin.”

Is Fear Of The Lord A New Testament Standard?

Yes, it is. Our Lord Jesus commanded us in:

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather Fear {phobéō, [pronounced fob-eh’-o]} Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Luke 12:4-5 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear {phobéō, [pronounced fob-eh’-o]} Him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Our God is loving, merciful, and forgiving. But our God is also holy, just, and righteous. We realize that our God is bigger than anything – even us – and that there is nothing our Lord cannot do. We also need to understand that God despises sin. The Chief Apostle wrote:

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear {phobeō} God. Honor the king.

As the Apostle Paul went out sharing the Gospel with the Gentiles, his motivating force was fear of God:

2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror {phobos, fear} of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

When Christians comes together, they are to cooperate with one another under the leadership of Christ because we fear God:

Ephesians 5:18-21 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear {phobos} of God.

And it is the fear of God that encourages us to be more like Jesus every day. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear {phobos} of God.

Fear of God is not an antiquated notion. It is the bedrock upon which the Christian faith is built. Let us put God in first place in our Church, our homes, our communities, and our country. Only then will we experience the the blessings of God Almighty. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). May God the Holy Spirit guide you in understanding this great truth. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Fearing God, Sermons Preached, topical and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.