A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-3 (NRSV)
When the phrase “fear of the Lord” is used in the Bible, it should be defined as deep reverence, a respectful awe.
It’s almost become out of vogue to teach the Biblical truth that we should fear God. Sometimes the popular teaching that implies, “Jesus is my best friend,” is misleading, as if He condones our sins or overlooks our bad habits. Yes, Jesus is our Friend, but on a far deeper level than earthly friends. Unlike human beings who are sinful and fallible, Jesus has only the purest motives and selflessness in His love for us. In His love He compels us to face our hard truths and overcome those things in our lives that harm ourselves and others. His love shines through us and brings out the best in us.
Fear of the Lord is not being terrified that every thought or action leads directly to condemnation and/or hellfire. Jesus came to earth specifically so that we would not suffer the consequences of sin and death. We do not have to live in constant fear of not measuring up or of losing our salvation. Apart from Jesus it is impossible for us to achieve God’s standards, but in Him all things are possible.
Fear of the Lord is a healthy realization that when we speak, when we pray, when we breathe and live, that it is because the I AM God Who created the universe gives us that ability.
Do we find delight in the fear of the Lord? Is it not amazing that we can take comfort in knowing that we can talk to and walk intimately with the very God Who created the universe?