Delighting in the Fear of the Lord

Delighting in the Fear of the Lord

You’re almost to the top!” 


I was so relieved to hear those encouraging words from a passerby hiker. My husband and I were hiking Mount Storm King in Washington, near Olympic National Park. And for east-coasters, not used to hiking west coast mountains, it was a bit of a challenge. But once you make it to the summit, you quickly understand why the hike is beloved. We were surrounded by a 360-degree view of lakes and snow capped mountains. I felt like I was on top of the world. 

We were left in awe of God’s creation—how intricately He designed the mountains and how He knew the exact speed of my pounding heart as I beheld the scenery.


But then I looked down.


I couldn’t help but think, “What if the wind blew and knocked me off the mountain?”


The same mountain that evoked awe and wonder and joy also evoked fear and intimidation. Why? Because the mountain was big and I am small. 


For many of us, we know the feeling of fear well. We know what it is like to be afraid of a big change, a threat to our safety, or a worst-case scenario. 

We also know what it’s like to fear God—the One who holds the whole world in His hands, the One who can tear down and build up at His choosing. We are ever-so aware that He is big and we are small.

The truth is that the fear of the Lord means different things depending on your position in Christ. For those not in Christ, the fear of the Lord is (or should be) terror of eternal life in hell, a necessary trepidation of living in opposition to the living God. But for those saved by faith in Jesus, fear of the Lord is reverence and awe of Him that leads to worship, humility, and obedience. Fear of the Lord, for those in Jesus, is a comfort, for we know that our lives and this world are held in his perfect care. 


The Fear of The Lord Leads Us To Worship


We don’t typically equate fear with delight. But mysteriously, when describing the Messiah, Isaiah 11:2–3 says, “The spirit of the Lord will rest on Him … a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight will be in the fear of the Lord.” 


Wow. Jesus’s delight is in the magnification of the Father—in the reverence and awe of God. If Christ’s delight was in the fear of His heavenly Father, how much more should our delight be in our heavenly Father?


Our delight in the fear of our heavenly Father brings us to worship. When we consider all that He’s done, all that He is doing, and all that He will do, when we read about His character in Scripture or sing a song about His love in church service, we delight in the fear of the Lord. When we meditate on His greatness compared to our weakness, we delight in the fear of the Lord. David illustrates this beautifully in Psalm 8:3–4: “When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” 


David worships God as Creator of the moon and stars, and yet marvels that the Creator of the universe chooses to love lowly mankind. God is not only our Creator, He is our Father—the God who desires to dwell close to His Creation.

As we read our Bibles and come to God in prayer, we too can be filled with awe-inspired worship that exudes from our fear of the Lord. 


The Fear Of The Lord Leads Us To Humility


Proverbs 9:10 teaches us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” How could fear be equated with wisdom? Perhaps the fear of the Lord orders and organizes our priorities. When we have a proper fear of the Lord, God is placed in the driver’s seat, and the rest of our lives take the back seat. Therefore, we allow God to be our priority—rather than our ambition, our families, our hopes, etc. When we fear the Lord, we elevate Him above all else in our life. 

Just as we feel small witnessing the vastness of God’s landscape atop a mountain, when we behold God, we understand that we are small and that He is big. We willingly yield ourselves to His will, trusting that He is sovereign over all. Fear of the Lord leads us to humility, for we are reminded that where we are limited, God is limitless. 

We are limited, but God is limitless | TDGC


The Fear of The Lord Leads Us To Obedience


And finally, the fear of the Lord leads us to obedience. As we worship God’s greatness and humble ourselves before His authority, we better understand that His will is for our best. As Moses proclaims God’s Words to the Israelites, what God expects of them, in Deuteronomy 10:12, Moses says, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul?” This is the appropriate response for those who have been chosen and kept by the Lord out of His kindness. A proper fear of the Lord leads us to gratitude, exaltation, and joy. And in this joy, we attempt to love our Father with all the love we can muster up. And that means walking in His ways—obeying the commands He has given us in Scripture. 


But for those in Christ, it is not for fear of punishment that we obey God. In fact, 1 John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment.” Those in Christ obey out of joyful submission, trusting that God’s will is for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13). 


What I failed to mention about the Mount Storm King hike is that at the summit of the hike is a clearly marked path, one worn by the feet of thousands of hikers over the years. This path marks the safest path to tread, guarding hikers from falling to danger. God’s commands in Scripture are like this path, guiding us to safety so that we may better glorify God and enjoy Him forever. A healthy fear of the Lord helps us to trust the path He’s laid out for us so that we may walk close beside Him, growing continuously in love and gratitude for all that He’s given us in Christ. 


Additional Resources on Fearing the Lord:


The Daily Grace Podcast

We want to invite women to join us in our conversation about our great God, and be encouraged to seek a deeper knowledge of God that leads them to live their lives for God’s glory as they grow in love and awe in response to who He is.