I have a confession to make; when I was a little girl, I was convinced that a witch lived in my closet. You know, the green-faced witch from the Wizard of Oz. Yes, she lived in MY bedroom closet each night!
I just knew that the moment the lights were turned off and the bedroom door was shut the witch would materialize and be waiting for me to fall asleep. What she was going to do I'm not sure, but it must have been evil. I would call out to my mom to check the closet, and of course, there was never a witch to be found. But, just because we couldn't see her didn't mean that she wasn't there. So, to get me to sleep the solution was to keep the closet light on- at all times. In my young mind- the witch couldn’t withstand the light and thus my fears were alleviated.
Thankfully, I’ve outgrown this childhood fear. But, I have to admit I still believe that light dispels the dark.
The reason for this trip down memory lane is the word “fear.” I recently read a suggestion that to have a great marriage you need first to FEAR THE LORD.
I’m not sure what to do with this advice.
Because the word “fear” automatically causes a negative reaction (like the terrible feeling invoked by the witch in the closet).
In my heart, however, I know better- the fear of the Lord is a positive that should be embraced.
This concept is not something that is routinely taught, encouraged or comes naturally. I'd venture to say, many reading this don’t know what it really means to “fear the Lord.”
What if I asked this question instead-
“Did you fear your earthly father?”
Fear him in the sense that you didn’t want to be disciplined by him?
Fear him by giving him proper honor and respect?
Fear him in that you wanted him to be proud of you?
Fear him in that you never wanted to do anything that would cause him to be embarrassed, disappointed or ashamed of you?
Fear that caused remorse when you did wrong and let him down?
This concept of fear is called “filial fear” coming from the Latin root for the idea of family; a fear a child has of their father/mother, where tremendous respect and love flows and the child simply wants to please their parent. The child has anxiety over offending their loved one, not because of fear of punishment; rather because they do not want to displease the source of their security and love.
So how much more should we fear the Lord, who spoke the world into creation and gives our very next breath?
Filial fear is what we should have for the Lord!
Awe of a Majestic Holy God.
Acknowledgement of a God that gives and takes away- who saves, but also judges in perfect righteousness.
I don’t believe it wise to gloss over this concept; there is a multitude of references in the Bible to fearing the Lord and many tell of the “right now” benefits.
You heard me… benefits that have nothing to do with avoiding punishment!
Here are a few:
1. Prolonged Life
“The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” ~Proverbs 10:27
“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” ~ Psalm 34:7
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” ~ Psalm 111:10
4. Evil Away
“By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.” ~ Proverbs 16:6
“He will bless those who fear the LORD, The small together with the great.” ~ Psalm 115:13
6. Desires Fulfilled
“He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.” ~ Psalm 145:19
“And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.” ~ Luke 1:50
“The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one resets content, untouched by trouble.” ~ Proverbs 19:23
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” ~Psalm 103:13
10. Legacy of Love
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children.” ~ Psalm 103:17
The irony- we want the blessings, prosperity, and protections and we fear a bunch of stuff in this life, but we miss out on fearing the ONE that matters.
Like I said before; light dispels the dark. If you learn to fear the Lord today by getting to know Him and respecting Him, then you just might find you never have to sleep with the lights on again!
Praise you Lord, you are worthy of our praise. How great is your goodness for those that fear you. Help us to know you better and develop a filial fear that brings you honor and brings us blessings. To fear you is to know you.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” ~Ecclesiastes 12:13-14