In our world today, there is a lot of fear. In many ways, we are consumed by fear. We are afraid, to some degree, of everything and everyone. Most of what we do is because of something or someone we are afraid of. Much of our time is spent avoiding or escaping our fears. When we fear man, we become filled with stress, anxiety and nervousness.
Throughout Scriptures, we can read about those who fear man and those that fear Yahweh. We can see the fruits of each and learn the lessons recorded for our instruction. When we fear man, we give him authority over us and we lose sight of the greatness and goodness of Yahweh. We become focused on ourselves and not our Creator. When we fear Yahweh, we are focused on pleasing Him. When we please Him, He can bless us.
So what does it mean to fear God? If God is love, why should we fear Him? The word for Fear in Hebrew is Yare‘ and it has several definitions. First, fear means to morally revere, dread and be afraid of. We should be afraid that He could end our life at any moment for any reason. That’s not, however, the complete meaning of the word. It also means to have an awe, reverence and respect for. Reverence is defined as deep respect, love and awe. Awe means to have reverence, fear and wonder for. Unfortunately, we have a history of giving awe, reverence and respect to all the wrong things, such as actors, athletes, singers, bands, artists, etc. The first three Commandments tell us, however, that only Yahweh is to get our awe, reverence and respect. We are to put nothing before Him.
So why should we fear Yahweh? Because He is worthy and is to be feared above anything else! Yeshua tell us in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” and in Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you, My friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. Psalms 96:4
For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the Holy ones, and awesome above all who are around Him? Psalms 89:6-7
Do you not fear Me? declares the LORD. Do you not tremble before Me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass, though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest’. Jeremiah 5:22-24
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31
“Great and amazing are your deeds, O LORD God the Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O LORD, and glorify Your Name? For You alone are Holy. All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:3-4Additional Verses: Psalms 47:2, Psalms 76:11-12, Daniel 6:26-27, Revelation 14:7
Not only should we fear Yahweh, but He requires us to fear Him. In Deuteronomy 10:12, the very first thing that He tell us that He requires of us is our fear. When we fear Him, then the rest of the requirements He gives us in that verse will fall into place. When we fear Him, then we will walk in His ways. When we walk in His ways, we will see that they are loving and good and it will cause us to love Him. When we love Him, we will desire to serve Him and keep His commandments.
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good. Deuteronomy 10:12-13
It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by His name you shall swear. Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20
You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. Deuteronomy 13:4
Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you. I Samuel 12:24
For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear. Ecclesiastes 5:7Additional Verses: Leviticus 19:14, Leviticus 19:32, Joshua 24:14, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Psalms 2:11, Revelation 19:5
Yahweh delights in those who fear Him. David said in Psalms 147:11 “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.” Often times, He does wondrous and mighty miracles in our lives to make us fear Him. The Bible is loaded with examples (like the Exodus) of how Yahweh worked amazing miracles so that His people would fear Him.
The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, but you shall fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that He wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods, and you shall not forget the Covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, but you shall fear the LORD your God, and He will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 1 Kings 17:34-40
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” And Israel saw the mighty power, which the LORD showed upon the Egyptians: so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses. Exodus 14:13, 31
For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:23-24
The Bible tells us that Yahweh’s people had to learn to fear Him. This learning took place when Yahweh required His people to read His Torah (law/instructions). He commanded every new king to write the Torah and read it all the days of His life “that he may learn to fear the Lord God by keeping all the words of this law and these statues.” He also commanded the Torah be read to the people on the Sabbath, at Passover and during the feast of Sukkot. The reading, knowing and doing of the law of God teaches us to fear Him. How? Because there are blessings, as well as punishments and curses, associated with the doing or not doing Yahweh’s commandments. If we truly understand the Torah and its purpose in our lives, we will be in awe of God. We will understand that our loving Creator instituted this perfect law to bless us, keep us safe and transform us into the image of our Messiah. We will also fear the punishments and curses that are in place for breaking His Eternal Torah.
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:18-20
“Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 31:12-13
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.” Deuteronomy 6:2
“So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and by fearing Him. ” Deuteronomy 8:6Additional Verses: Deuteronomy 4:10, Deuteronomy 14:23
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. If you want to be wise, then the greatest wisdom comes from fearing Yahweh.
Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding. Job 28:28
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33
Now that we know that we are commanded to fear Yahweh, how do we put that fear into action? Does it require action on our part or is it just a mental ascension that we need to achieve? We definitely need to open our minds to understand the greatness and power of Yahweh in our universe. But that’s not all. Notice what Moses tells the people on behalf of Yahweh in Deuteronomy 17, “that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them.” To truly learn and understand the fear Yahweh, we need to know and do His commandments.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do
His commandments: His praise endures forever. Psalms 111:10
My son, if you receive My Words and treasure up My commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
When we fear Yahweh by obeying His commandments, we will be blessed (as promised in Deuteronomy 28). “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments.” The verses below explain that when we fear Yahweh, it will be well with us and He will give us compassion, blessings, abundance, life. David even says in Psalms 25:14 that “the friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him!”
Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear Me and to keep all My commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever! Deuteronomy 5:29
And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as we are this day. Deuteronomy 6:24
If you will fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. I Samuel 12:14
Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will He instruct in the way that He should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His Covenant. Psalms 25:12-14
The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. Proverbs 19:23
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Psalms 33:18-19
Oh, fear the LORD, you His Saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! Psalms 34:9
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to His children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. Psalms 103:11-13
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and
His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments. Psalms 103:17
Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments! Psalms 112:1
He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them. Psalms 145:19
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. Proverbs 10:27
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:26-27Additional Verses: Psalms 31:19, Psalms 115:11-13, Psalms 128:1, Psalms 128:4, Proverbs 19:23, Proverbs 22:4, Proverbs 28:14
Fearing Yahweh not only blesses us, but it also keeps us from sinning. When we truly realize the greatness and power of our Creator, then our lives become focused on pleasing Him instead of pleasing ourselves. His ultimate desire is that we humble ourselves to His authority and become obedient to Him out of love. The desire to love Him and be obedient will keep us from sinning/doing evil.
And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Job 2:3
Transgression (sin) speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil (sin). Proverbs 8:13
By steadfast love and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil (sin). Proverbs 16:6
Your evil (sin) will chastise (punish) you, and your apostasy (backsliding) will reprove (correct) you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake (leave, refuse) the LORD your God; the fear of Me is not in you, declares the LORD God of Hosts. Jeremiah 2:19
Evil, as defined by the Scriptures, is disobeying the commandments of Yahweh “Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by My servants the prophets.'” (2 Kings 17:13) Evil is not just limited to things that we consider really bad, such as murder, rape and abortion. When Yahweh tells us to do something and we don’t do it, or He tells us not to do something and we do it anyway, that is considered by Yahweh to be evil. Evil is disobeying ANY commandment that God has put into place for our good. Consider that Yahweh said it was evil when His people profaned the Sabbath commandments. “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day?” (Nehemiah 13:17). Evil is often referred to as the opposite of righteousness (doing what is right in God’s eyes). Solomon said “Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die.” David, a man after God’s own heart, also understood that breaking the commandments was evil. When we truly fear Yahweh, we will hate evil (sin) and desire obedience.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. Psalms 51:3-4
I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your Word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. Psalms 119:101-102
Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Psalms 119:115
They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from Your law. But You are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. Psalms 119:150-151
The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13
Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die. Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD, but those of blameless ways are His delight. Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered. Proverbs 11:19-21
Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. Ecclesiastes 8:5
For My people are foolish; they know Me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’—in doing evil! But how to do good they know not. Jeremiah 4:22
For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey My Voice. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant (curses), which I commanded them to do, but they did not.” Jeremiah 11:7-8
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 3 John 1:11
Yahweh warns us throughout His Word that calamity will come upon us when we do not fear Him. Here’s what Paul says about those who don’t fear Yahweh: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18
If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome Name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. Deuteronomy 28:58-59
And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the LORD. Therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 1 Kings 17:25
Then they will call upon Me, but I will not answer; they will seek Me diligently but will not find Me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD. Proverbs 1:28-29
Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and (seems to) prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God. Ecclesiastes 8:12-13
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me,” says the LORD of Hosts. Malachi 3:5Additional Verses: Proverbs 24:21-22, Jeremiah 44:10-11, Micah 7:16-17
Do we fear Yahweh as he requires? Most of us don’t. Why don’t we have a proper fear of Yahweh today? What has changed? WE have changed. Unfortunately over the centuries, we have lost sight of the fear and greatness of God. We blame Him when things go wrong and take credit ourselves when things are good. We think that we can do this life without really being close to Him. We don’t keep His commandments. We don’t study His Word. We don’t try to understand it. We think most of it is fairy tale. We don’t feel most of it is applicable to us today. We take our traditions and elevate them over what Yahweh says to do. We have bent and twisted God’s Word to our own desires to allow for what we want, showing Him that it is not in our hearts to fear and obey Him.
When we don’t fear Yahweh, we do whatever we want to do. Just look at our youth today. They do things today that we would never dream of doing when we were kids. Why? Because there is no fear of God anymore. They have no fear of repercussions and punishment for their actions. There is no solid knowledge of what is right and wrong because the definition of sin has been blurred. Because we don’t fear God, we have bent and twisted the definition of sin to fit our desires. If we truly understood the power and greatness of Yahweh, we would have so much respect and awe for Him, that pleasing Him and doing His will would be the most important thing in our lives. If we had a proper fear of Yahweh, then all of our behaviors would fall in line with His Word.
The same God that… created our earth in six days, destroyed the entire earth with a flood because of its sin, gave man at least 70 different languages at Babel, made a 90-year-old woman give birth, caused catastrophic plagues in Egypt, parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross, led them in the wilderness for 40 years feeding them and keeping their shoes from wearing out, made a shepherd boy into a great king, kept Daniel safe in the lion’s den, walked with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace, defeated all of Israel’s enemies, kept Jonah alive in the belly of a fish, sent His Son to be born of a virgin… is still with us today! He NEVER changes!
I will leave you with one last thought. When God returns and restores His people under His everlasting covenant, He will put fear in our hearts and we will fear Him forever. But why wait until then? Why not start fearing Him now so that we can reap the benefits and blessings that come from fearing Him? It’s your choice, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
“Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in My anger and My wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me.” Jeremiah 32:37-40
In conclusion… “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His Commandments, for this is the whole duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
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- Video: The Fear of Yahweh (6 parts) by MTOI