How You Can Grasp The Fear of the Lord in Proverbs

The Fear of the Lord

Walking in the Fear of the Lord

The Bible has much to say about properly reverencing the Lord. The term used in the scriptures is ‘the fear of the Lord. Richard Stockton, (October 1, 1730–February 28, 1781), a signer of the Declaration of Independence mentioned the fear of the Lord in his last will and testament, ‘ As my children will have frequent occasion of perusing this instrument, and may probably be peculiarly impressed with the last words of their father, I think proper here, not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great leading doctrine of the Christian religion … but also in the heart of a father’s affection, to charge and exhort them to remember “that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”1. Let’s take a look at some things we can do to walk in the fear of the Lord.

The Fear of the Lord in Proverbs

Proverbs 1:7 (ESV)
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

  • According to Joshua, the book of the Law or the Word of God, connects a believer to success.
  • There is no success, no victory, and no sustaining mountaintop experience without God’s Word.
  • If you do a search on the ‘fear of the Lord in the Bible’, you will find elements which lead to wisdom, knowledge, and instruction.
  • If you heed the fear of the Lord in these areas, you find success in these areas.

What is the Fear of the Lord in Proverbs?

Proverbs 8:13 (ESV)
13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

  • Evil
  • Pride
  • Arrogance
  • Perverted speech
    • Perverted speech is not just cursing.
    • It includes all conversation which is not in line with God’s Word.
    • Unbelief spoken out of one’s mouth is perverted speech.
  • These ‘evil issues’ issues mentioned in this verse in Proverbs are all ‘character issues’.

Wisdom on Strengths and Weaknesses

  • So, here is some wisdom to live by Proverbs style.
    • When it comes to your talents and your abilities, ‘Focus on your strengths and forget about your weaknesses.
    • When it comes to character, do the opposite, ‘Focus on your weaknesses and forget about your strengths’.
  • Talents and abilities have to do with how God has wired you.
  • He did not create you or any other man to be able to do it all.
  • Sometimes disharmony occurs because one spouse, who has a strength in a particular area, tries to ‘change’ their spouse who has a weakness in that same area.
  • This is not wise as no one is crafted to ‘do it all’.
  • Sometimes we misunderstand what spiritual growth is because we focus on how good we are in an area of strength.
  • This is incorrect because some areas of strength have come through previous training often from established childhood disciplines.
  • The measure of real spiritual growth is not viewing your area of strength but rather knowing how much you have overcome your area of weakness.
  • In marriage, each spouse contributing his or her strengths makes the union absolutely better.

Two Are Better than One

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (ESV)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

  • When it comes to weaknesses, understand that these are areas that cannot be ignored.
  • Sometimes working on sin ‘weaknesses’ means building safeguards, checks, and balances.
  • Sometimes it means complete avoidance of an area.
  • Do not walk in arrogance thinking that ‘you can handle it’.
  • You cannot handle a weakness with the power of your flesh since it is your flesh that is producing the weakness in the first place.

Not Will Power But God’s Power

  • It’s not will-power that overcomes fleshly tendencies, but God’s power.

Proverbs 10:27 (ESV)
27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.

Proverbs 14:26 (ESV)
26 In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

Proverbs 19:23 (ESV)
23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)
4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.

  • In these four verses we have, in connection with the fear of the Lord:
    • Long life
    • Strong confidence
    • Quality of life and satisfaction
    • Riches and honor

Definition of the Fear of the Lord

  • The fear of the Lord is simply reverence for God.
  • Reverence is an intensity of respect
  • Intensely reverent people receive Gods best.
  • Casual folk get very little from God.
  • There is an absolute depth to the fear of the Lord which is not understood by individuals that do not possess or pursue it.

The Example of Phinehas

Numbers 25:1–3, 6-8 (ESV)
1 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2 These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 6 And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8 and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.

  • Here is a Bible example of the ‘fear of the Lord’, of deep respect for God and His Word.
  • Phinehas demonstrated that ‘the fear of the Lord is to hate evil’.
  • In order to understand this verse, you must know the context of culture.
  • So, do not try this on the next Jehovah Witness that comes to your door. 🙂

Call to Action:

You will find that as you engage this subject, your love for and passion will increase. There is something about reverencing God, and honoring Him with your life that brings a sense of closeness between you and Him. Meditate on these points. Turn them over and over in your mind and heart and you will see an impact in your everyday life.

Question: What personal act of devotion did you engage in with respect to God that brought an increased sense of reverence into your life? Please share that with us in the comments section below.

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References:

  1. William J. Federer, Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced according to Their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001