The Fear of the Lord
Proverbs 14:27 "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."
We will look at an overview of the fear of the Lord, its meaning and benefits, and then two aspects of the fear of the Lord being a fountain of life.
The phrase "the fear of the Lord" occurs 27 times in the King James version of which 26 are in the Old Testament. Of these 26 occurrences over half, fourteen, are in the book of Proverbs. It’s only occurrence in the New Testament is in Acts 9:31. Walking in the fear of God was the life style of the New Testament churches which resulted in their multiplication.
From the book of Proverbs, we learn that the fear of the Lord
- Is interwoven with knowledge. Not choosing the fear of the Lord goes hand in hand with hating knowledge (1:29)
- Is to hate evil (8:13)
- Is the instruction of wisdom (15:33)
- Is to be practiced continually (23:17).
- Is the opposite of envying sinners (23:17).
- Is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (1:7, 9:10)
- Is understood when one is submissive to God ordained authority and is an eager and obedient student of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (2:1-5)
- Prolongs a person’s life (10:27)
- Is a source of strong confidence (14:26)
- Is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death (14:27)
- Is better with little, than great treasure with trouble (15:16)
- Motivates its possessors to depart from evil (16:6)
- The key to a contented life (19:23)
- Keeps one from being visited with evil (19:23)
- When coupled with humility results in riches, honor, and life (22:4)
After understanding what the fear of the Lord is and the benefits it brings, who would not want it?
Isaiah 33:6 gives a good summary of the fear of the Lord, "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure." Remember the fear of the Lord is the starting point of wisdom and knowledge. Thus Isaiah gives us a key principle to successful Christian living, "Those who treasure the fear of the Lord have stability and salvation (victory over sin)." As Christians, our lives should be living testimonies of the fear of the Lord. Imagine what incredible testimonies Christians would be for the Lord if they really took a hold of these truths? The fear of the Lord is not just, "I hate evil." The question is, "Why do you hate evil?" The Christian that fears the Lord hates evil because he/she has a passion to honor God with all that he/she is. Their desire is to see Him. Hebrews 12:14 says, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" "Holiness" means, "separation," that is, separation from sin to God.
Now let’s take a look at the fear of the Lord being a fountain of life. There are two aspects of this that we will observe, it cleansing power and life.
- It’s cleansing power.
The Hebrew word for "fountain" refers to an artesian spring. Remember, we learned that the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom. The Bible is the instruction of wisdom. It is God’s Word that cleanses the believer in his daily walk with the Lord in an unclean world. In John 15:3, Jesus likens His words to water that cleansed His disciples. God’s Word, the instruction of wisdom, or the fear of the Lord cleanses and renews the mind and life of a believer (Rom. 12:2). No wonder why David said in Psalm 19:9 that the fear of the Lord was eternal cleanness.
- It’s life.
This spring is alive, having as its source, Life, the Word of God, that gives living water (John 14:6, Rev. 19:13, John 4:10).
Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick (alive), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Thus the fear of the Lord not only cleanses and renews our mind, but quenches our spiritual thirst by empowering us to walk in victory over sin.
In conclusion and application, we have seen an overview of the fear of the Lord, its meaning and benefits, and two aspects of it being a fountain of life. Now let’s apply what we have learned. Am I cultivating the fear of the Lord in my life? What personal testimony can I give of its cleansing power and life? With whom will I share how the fear of the Lord has been a blessing to me today? Do I view God’s Word as His personal and loving instruction to me or as some impersonal book? Do I spend daily time reading and meditating on Scripture, the instruction of wisdom? From what snares is God helping me to depart? I pray that we will walk in the fear of the Lord individually and corporately just as the New Testament church did and see our churches multiply and grow as we do.