I was reading Psalm 34 today, and Holy Spirit stopped me on verse seven:
“The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him.”
Wow, this sounds like the perfect home security system, but what does it mean to fear the Lord? How can we activate it in our lives?
I went to my Strong’s to uncover the definition. Fear #3373 from #3372: To fear, revere, to frighten, make afraid, dread.
There isn’t anything new here. So I dug deeper looking at the individual Hebrew letters creating the word fear.
Yod: the right hand or arm of God’s power, to work, to cover, a deed done.
Resh: Head, Chief, Beginning, Highest, Most important, Insufficiency, Poverty. Human reasoning versus Obedience.
Aleph: God, Unity, Strength and Power of the leader, First
When I put all of this together, I found the true definition of fear.
To fear God is to be awestruck by His power, His majesty, His sovereignty. To willingly set aside our human reasoning and be obedient to His word, because we see Him as one worthy of our honor. We submit to His leadership in all things.
I went on to read other scripture that clarifies this definition even more:
Psalm 34:9, 11, 13-14
“Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.
Come you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.”
As we look at all of this, it is easy to see that fearing the LORD isn’t being terrified of Him, hiding in the fetal position in a closet. No, to fear the Lord is an action word. It requires that we walk out our allegiance to Him by doing His will.
It is to recognize the God who spoke galaxies into existence, who measures the waters of the seas in the palm of His hand, who knows the words on our tongues before we speak them, who gave His only Son to pay the price for our sin to reconcile us to Him. This God is worthy of our worship and our grateful response to all He calls us to do.
The question remains, are we living in the fear of the LORD, or do we have someone or something else on that pedestal of devotion? Whoever or whatever we are seeking to please that takes God’s place is an idol. We are already pleasing to God because of the sacrifice Jesus paid. We don’t have to strive to please Him; we can joyfully follow His lead because we love Him more than any other. Our God is holy and all He does, He does in love. He is worthy of our fear.
“Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”
On this Shabbat, let’s ask Holy Spirit to search our hearts and see if we need to make any adjustments on our fear monitor.