As a kid, I often heard that I should fear the Lord. It was a difficult concept to reconcile. Wasn’t God my Father? Loving and kind? Why should I be afraid of Him?
Then I learned to differentiate the fear of God from being afraid of God. Fear of God is a holy reverence. Honour. Respect.
OK. I know the difference now. But how do I do that?
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and love many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34:11-14 (ESV)
Of all people to speak on the fear of the Lord, I trust David.
We try to make things so complicated when it comes to fearing God, but this breaks it down into simple actions: watch what you say, turn away from bad things and toward good and peaceful things. Really, how hard is that?
Fearing God is not just knowing Him, it is pursuing Him. David, above all, knew what that looked like. He is forever known as the man who chased after God’s heart. That’s what the fear of God is – pursing an intimate knowledge of Him. And when we know Him, we will be more like Him.
Daily Bible reading: Psalm 34-35; Acts 22