01 May Instilling ‘The Fear of the Lord’ – May 11
By: Poppy Ivone
“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
My family tries to make praying together a habit. Judah, our 3.5-year-old, often gets restless when such prayers get too long for his liking. I always remind him to respect God by praying properly. He often asks, “Why not?” which usually leaves me a little stumped. How do you explain that God deserves our utmost honor & respect to a young child? Frank A. Clark once said, “There’s nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.” I’m painfully aware that my words on their own are ineffective means to get him to understand what it means to truly respect God. He needs to see us put this ‘respecting God business’ into action, daily. And I believe at the very heart of respecting God is the proper fear of God.
Fear of God’ is a controversial topic by nature. A lot of Christians seem to think that it is kinda old school, that we don’t really do the ‘hell, fire, brimstone’ thing anymore. When the term ‘fear of the Lord’ is mentioned, people are quick to rationalise that it doesn’t really mean ‘fear’, but more of a respect. As believers we need to understand that ‘fear of the Lord’ is not just a phrase of Old Testament piety.
Strimple (2001) wrote, “What a grave error it would be to imagine that the new covenant, in contrast to the old, has replaced the fear of God with the love of God.”
What is the ‘fear of the Lord’ according to the Bible?
• Keeping all God’s decrees and commands
• Hatred of evil
• Hoping in His unfailing love
• Taking refuge in Him
• Putting trust in God
• The beginning of wisdom
• Flesh-trembling, standing-in-awe of God’s laws
• Walking upright
• Regarding God as holy, as the one to fear, as the one to dread
• Offering sacrifice to the Lord, making vows to Him and fulfilling them
• Accepting correction
• Working out our salvation with fear and trebling
• Giving God glory, worshipping Him
• Praising God
What about 1 John 4:18 that states “Perfect love drives out fear”? It is the dread of eternal torment that love drives out, not reverence and adoration before God’s majesty! Deut 10:12-13 and Psalm 33:18-19 further prove that the fear of God and love of God are not contradictory but go hand-in-hand.
As we parents learn to walk more in the fear of God ourselves, I pray that our children can have a safe refuge in the strong confidence that we have in God. And in time, for our children to cleave to God as their very own perfect refuge when the storms of life break over their lives. Amen.