I’m reading in the book of 1 Peter and came across the words, fear of the Lord. Some have trouble with that phrase, the thought of cowering before God, shaking in their boots in fear.
I compare it to the Wizard of Oz: When they finally reach the Emerald City, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow are scared stiff of the Wizard!
Here is this terrifying, booming voice and imposing face that tells them what they must do to be saved. Then, Dorothy’s little dog, Toto, runs up and pulls back the curtain to reveal the Wizard is really no wizard at all.
We want to believe that there is nothing to be afraid of, that God really isn’t a God of fear. That if we pull back that curtain that there is just a regular guy standing there pulling knobs and buttons. A fake.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10 NIV
But that’s not the way it is at all; God is a God to be feared! Just the thought of not being in the Lamb’s Book of Life is enough to instill the fear of God into anyone. We do need to have some sense of the fear of God in our lives.
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Luke 12:4,5 NLT. There will be a Judgment Day, friend.
That doesn’t mean that we live in fear. Once we have given our hearts to Him, there is no more fear! We no longer live in terror of anything else because the One who is in control of anxiety and panic now reigns in our hearts. He has taken away the fear of this world and fear of the enemy no longer has power over us.
Remember this fear of the Lord is a respect and awe. He is a wonder! He is perfectly holy and completely without sin. Consider His majesty, His omnipotence, the vastness of eternity, the brevity of time, all of this is the beginning of wisdom. As we learn and grow in knowledge of the Lord our wisdom increases and our Godly fear moves into a fearful adoration.
(I experienced a very real spirit of fear when we arrived in the country of Latvia, in the former Soviet Union, and the Lord literally delivered me from it in an instant! You can read about here on our Faith Journey page.)
If you are struggling with fear today, you don’t have to carry it! Fear of the Lord means we no longer need to fear anything or anyone else; not man, not circumstances, not death, not our health, our finances. A friend said it so beautifully, “Fear of my Heavenly Father frees me from all other fears!”
Have you heard the story behind the song, Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin and Ed Cash? Cash co-wrote the song with Tomlin and has said that his wife was struggling with anxiety attacks and a spirit of fear and could not sleep at night. She asked her husband to pray for her and soon after he began to write the song as a praise to God in the night. He didn’t know where the words came from but he just prayed the lyrics: ‘I know Who goes before me / I know Who stands behind / The God of angel armies / Is always on my side / The One who reigns forever / He is a Friend of mine.’
Chris Tomlin, after hearing the lyrics, went immediately to this verse: “And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.’ And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-18.
We don’t have to fear! Just as Elisha prayed and God answered in such a miraculous way, He wants to do the same for us today. God DOES answer prayer; He is just waiting to be asked. In His time and in His perfect way, the answer will come.
There is so much fear in the world whether it is the economy, sickness, death, fear of what is to come and the unknown; it can be overwhelming. Whom shall I fear? No one, not even fear itself! The God of Angel Armies is always, always by our side, there is no fear in love. Be encouraged in the Lord.
The Cowardly Lion summed it up for us,