Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” More often than not, the “fear of the Lord” is just a vague spiritual term. But the way to become a friend of God and to have our lives built on the correct foundation is to understand what it means to walk in the fear of the Lord.
In Genesis 22:12, God says to Abraham, “ ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ ” This passage is the first time in the Bible that the fear of God is mentioned.
For most people, when we hear the word “fear” it brings a negative connotation. But to fear the Lord is not to be afraid of Him. Rather, it is to have a deep reverence for Him, to realize that He is God—all-knowing, all-powerful, all-encompassing. A.W. Tozer said, “If there is one terrible disease in the Church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God. I think we ought to remember who He is. ‘He is thy Lord; and worship thou him.’ And though he comes down to the lowest point of our need and makes Himself accessible to us as tenderly as a mother to her child, still don’t forget that when John saw Him—that John who had lain on His bosom—he fell at His feet as dead.”
The fear of the Lord is not a happily received message in today’s Christianity. We like to hear about the joy of the Lord, His blessings and grace and how much He loves us. And although all these things are true, the blessings of God come through the fear of Him.