Fear of the LORD? “Yeah…Whatever”

“And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 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 5:28-29

How does a person “walk in the fear of the LORD” as the church in the book of Acts walked? The definitions people typically give for the phrase “the fear of the LORD” talk about reverence, respect and awe. However, this definition of “fear of the LORD” is missing the “of the LORD” part of the idiom. Here is the verse from Acts:

Act 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Were they walking in the “fear” of the LORD, or in “the fear of the LORD”? Fear is Strong’s G5401.

G5401
φόβος
phobos
Thayer Definition:
1) fear, dread, terror
1a) that which strikes terror
2) reverence for one’s husband

When the phrase is used throughout scripture, is it telling us to dread God and be terrified? Maybe, but in what context? Are we supposed to just have irrational fear? The New Testament writers did not come to start a new world religion. They were preaching and teaching the Old Testament scriptures in light of the Messiah. Yahweh defined the phrase “fear of the LORD”, and it means something very specific.

Deu 5:28 “And Yahweh heard the sound of your words when you spoke to me, and Yahweh said to me, ‘I have heard the sound of the words of this people that they have spoken to you; they are right with respect to all that they have spoken.
Deu 5:29 If only they had such a mind’; that is, to fear me and to keep all my commandments at all times, so that it will go well for them and for their children forever.

If a person fears the LORD, whose proper name is YHWH or Yahweh, they will do what He says. If not, there really isn’t fear, because there is no regard for what He said. It’s like throwing your hands in the air and saying “yeah big deal” or “whatever”. “My pastor says that was directed to someone else, not me”. Yahweh gives detailed accounts of what will happen to those who truly do not fear Him. This is the lukewarm person Jesus spoke about.

Mal 3:5 “Then I will approach you for judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, and against those who swear falsely, and against the oppressors of the hired worker with his wages, the widow and the orphan, and the abusers of the alien, and yet do not fear me,” says Yahweh of hosts.

Malachi tells us so much about commandment keeping, the fear of the LORD and the advents of the Messiah. Yahweh tells us through Malachi that all the evildoers (commandment breakers) will be burned up, and the opposite of evildoers are “you who fear my name” (commandment keepers). It may not be as obvious if He didn’t put “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel” in the middle of it all.

Mal 4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
Mal 4:2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.
Mal 4:3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
Mal 4:4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
Mal 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Mal 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

An arrogant person will say that the commandments are not relevant anymore, but not research it for themselves. If they would study and obey, God will show them how the commandments are very relevant, and woven into the entirety of scripture. This doesn’t typically happen though, due to arrogance. John the Baptist, who Jesus tells us is Elijah, explains Malachi chapter four.

Mat 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Paul explains that because we will all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, if we have the fear of the Lord, we will want to persuade others. This is one of the most important commandments. In order to love your neighbour as yourself, one has to warn others of the coming judgement. The church has really dropped the ball in this department, and many denominations do not even believe in coming judgement. That is in part, the purpose of these blog posts. There are very few that will lend an ear long enough to be warned. Many times we only give each other the “complimentary three minutes”. This is where the person slows down enough to engage in polite conversation with another person. Such as: “how is the family, the weather, the garden etc.?” Going over the complimentary three minutes will cause eyes to glaze and wander. Hopefully, if someone stumbles across what I write, it will at least cause that person to think, crack open a Bible and step out of the cloud of hypnotic therapy that is currently being delivered at every corner of this world.

2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2Co 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

We walk in the fear of the LORD in Acts, and Paul says we know the fear of the LORD, which will cause us to act a certain way in his letter to the Corinthians. The psalmist also gave us the definition of fearing the LORD.

Psa 34:11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Psa 34:12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?
Psa 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
Psa 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Solomon understood the fear of the LORD:

Pro 2:1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,
Pro 2:2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
Pro 2:4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
Pro 2:5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Understanding the fear of the LORD is related to finding the knowledge of God. Jesus spoke in parables about looking for silver and hidden treasures. “Seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures”.

Luk 15:8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
Luk 15:9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’
Luk 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The women had ten silver coins and she lost one. She searched diligently until she found it, once again having all ten coins. Jesus then likens finding the lost coin to a person that repents? It is similar to loosing the fourth commandment out of the ten, that is forgetting the Sabbath, then finding it again. Many people are doing this very thing, and finding the Biblical Sabbath again after it has been lost for hundreds of years by the church.

Speaking of future kings Israel will have, Yahweh defines the “fear of the LORD” for us again.

Deu 17:19 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,

We learn to fear the LORD by keeping all the words of His law and statutes, and by doing them. It does not get any clearer than that. Please keep this idea of “the fear of the LORD” in mind when coming across it in scripture. It is not the watered down version so often taught in church now. It literally means keeping the Ten Commandments, loving God and your neighbour. He is speaking of tares in the kingdom, His followers, not just people lost in the world. “He who has ears, let him hear”.

Mat 13:40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.
Mat 13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,
Mat 13:42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

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