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The Fear Of The Lord

    Many blessings come from the fear of the Lord. There is a difference between the abject fear of unbelievers, which comes suddenly upon them in thunderstorms, floods, or on the battlefield – and that which all believers should have and which Dr. Scofield defines as "reverential trust."

    But it is unseemly and dangerous even for Christians to cast aside all fear of God and act toward Him as though He were a human being like ourselves. While most of the passages referring to it are in the Old Testament, there are a few in the New Testament, showing that we need that "reverential trust" even in this age, when there is a tendency to be careless and irreverent.

    It brings with it many good things. Job said, "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom" (Job 28:28); David and Solomon said it was the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Psa. 111:10; Prov. 1:7), and undoubtedly one basic reason for youth in trouble is that parents and teachers have not begun at the right place.

    The fear of the Lord has a cleansing power, like a fresh north wind after rain: "The fear of the Lord is clean..." (Psa. 19:9). Where it dominates the heart, it will drive out unclean thoughts and evil imaginations. One definition of it – often forgotten – is that "the fear of the Lord is to hate evil" (Prov. 8:13). A corollary to this principle is that "by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil" (Prov. 16:6).

    God is dealing differently with His people in this age of grace from the ways in which He dealt with them under law; and we cannot always count upon prosperity and long life as rewards for obedience, for many believers suffer greatly and the lives of some appear to be cut short. But the fear of the Lord leads one to care for his body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and to be moderate and regular in his habits of eating, drinking and sleeping. So it is often true today, as Solomon said, that "the fear of the Lord prolongeth days" (Prov. 10:27); and it is always true, as he said, that in it "is strong confidence," it "is a fountain of life," and it "tendeth to life" (14:26-27; 19:23).

    Even the earthly life of the Lord Jesus was marked by it, for in a prophecy concerning Him, Isaiah said, "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (11:2).

    It was one of the secrets of the growth of the early churches: "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied" (Acts 9:31). The Apostle Paul did not hesitate to speak of it as one of the means of the sanctification of believers: "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God'' (2 Cor. 7:1); "Be filled with the Spirit…submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 54:18, 21).

    So not only are we commanded to fear God, but the right kind of fear of the Lord brings with it a whole cluster of blessings, which any right-thinking person would be glad to have.

    – From The Sunday School Times.