Christ on the Throne 2The Foundations are a collection of truths that have been lost to much of the church in America. By “lost”, I mean ignored, misunderstood, or misapplied. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 111:10). Therefore, it would be unwise to go far into the Foundations without addressing this fear.

Every one of the benefits of our salvation are precipitated on our fear of the LORD: Life, confidence, satisfaction, protection from evil, etc. With so much at stake, it is our responsibility – and it is to our advantage – to recognize and value this facet of our relationship with the LORD. It is time we taught and lived out of the full and proper fear of the LORD.

Searching Out the Matter

The best place to start in searching out this matter is with the use and definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words most often translated as fear. First, the Hebrew:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear (yare’ ) the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13

Yare’ – To fear, revere, be afraid; to stand in awe of, be awed; to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared; to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe; to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe; to make afraid, terrify. Outline of Biblical Usage, BlueLetterBible.org

A few things to notice: First, Moses is speaking to God’s own people; that His first requirement is for them to fear Him. Second, from the definition, this fear includes dread and terror. The Israelites would have understood this well, given the occasions that God’s wrath was poured out on them (read chapters 12 through 16 of Numbers to get a perspective on God’s severity with His people).

But that’s the Old Testament, right? What about the God of the New Covenant? He’s more forgiving and kind, right? He’s different now, right? That seems to be exactly what we are saying.

As the church in America has become more seeker-friendly, the “hellfire-and-brimstone” sermons that were once commonly preached have been replaced with a softer, more pleasing message; and the truth regarding the fear of the LORD has been suppressed. Many would argue that the New Testament fear of the LORD is primarily about having reverence and awe of God.

That is not the way Jesus put it to His disciples.

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid (phobeō) of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear (phobeō): Fear (phobeō) Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear (phobeō) Him! Luke 12:4-5

Phobos, Phobeō – Fear, dread, terror; always with this significance in the four Gospels; reverential fear of the LORD, as a controlling motive of the life, in matters spiritual and moral, not a mere “fear” of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him, a “fear” which banishes the terror that shrinks from His presence and which influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God, through the indwelling Spirit of God. Vines Expository Dictionary

Let me ask you, does thes fear that Jesus is suggesting – with exclamation – sound like awe and reverence? Of course not; it is the fear of death and hell. Is the fear that Jesus is suggesting reserved for the enemies of God? Again, no; He is speaking to His friends. In fact, He is speaking to the disciples.

Notice that the primary meaning of phobos is fear, dread and terror. Awe and reverence are the secondary meanings. Furthermore, notice that the Vines Expository Dictionary determined it was important to point out that “fear, dread and terror” were always the intended meaning in the four Gospels. Phobeō and phobos appear in the four Gospels 68 times! That’s a lot of dread and terror.

Truly, the dread and terror of the LORD is an important to the foundation of the Jesus’ gospel message.

The Spirit of Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2Timothy 1:7

There is another Greek word that is translated as “fear”. It is the word used here: Deilia. A careful searching reveals that the true meaning of this word is cowardice; something much different that the phobos of God. In fact, the spirit of fear is the drawing back from the enemies of God when we are challenged about the testimony of our Lord.

As His children, we have power over these enemies. Our drawing back is cowardice – not the fear that God intends. By the grace of God, let us turn our hearts to Him in righteous fear; for in that fear we have the promise of deliverance.

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Psalms 34:7

The agents of Satan are not the only beings hovering around you. Those that have a godly fear of the LORD have His angels encamped around them to assist in their battles.

We have not been given a spirit of cowardice. As His children, we have power over ungodly fear and cowardice. Our power is the truth of God. When the spirit of fear comes, we must not run from it. God would have us face it, and deal with it!

How do we deal with ungodly fear? It is very simple. I encourage you to memorize – and exercise – the following key to victory over ungodly fear.

Behind every ungodly fear there is a lie. Deal with the lie and the fear will fly.

The truth that replaces the lie will become a weapon for you and others.

God will have turned to good, what Satan intended for evil.

The Righteous Fear of the LORD

Awe and reverence are righteous expressions of our fear of the LORD; and much has been taught about them. There is no need to cover that here. No, what we need in this generation is a renewed revelation of the dread and terror of the LORD. According to Scripture, there is much more for His kingdom people in this foundation.

There are at least four types of God-ward fear that we must allow the Holy Spirit to develop in us; and through our discipling, into others. They are the fear of:

  1. Entering into His presence in an unworthy manner (1Corinthians 11:27-30, Hebrews 12:14, 2Corinthians 7:1);
  2. Becoming His enemy (Romans 8:7, 1John 2:15, James 4:4);
  3. Inhibiting His work in our lives (Hebrews 12:25,28-29; Philippians 2:12-13); and,
  4. Falling into apostasy (2Thessalonians 2:3, 1Timothy 4:1, 2Thessalonians 2:9-10, Hebrews 10:26-27, 31).

You can find more on these aspects of Godly fear in Map 5 of the Map Maker’s Guide. In that lesson, you will also explore the love and fear connection, and discover God’s way for developing a complete and healthy fear.

Conclusion

As we battle the enemies of our God, we will face many fears. Fear is one of our enemies’ most powerful weapons. God created us with the capacity to fear; but not for the purposes of the enemy. In fact, He has made it clear that His children have nothing to fear in the enemy. We are to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

But there is a fear – the fear of the LORD – which we must allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate in our lives. That fear is the beginning of wisdom, provision, protection, and many more of His promises. In many cases, it is terror and trembling (Philippians 2:12). It is the humble, fearful Christian that dares to enter into the presence of God. It is the fear of knowing that we are the temple of the Living God – who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29).

The fear of the LORD is grounded in love and is therefore a mystery and a treasure. It is for our good. It empowers and makes us free – free to do the same for those we disciple. As a mystery and a treasure, the fear of the LORD must be searched out, and shared with others. Be encouraged that you will find what you are looking for. Encourage others and your courage will be multiplied.

Application

Ask, seek and knock. Have you ever thought to ask the Father to give you the fear of the LORD? Have you ever sought it out? Have you knocked at the door with a fearful expectation that the One Who shines brighter than the Sun will answer? As we turn our heart and minds to the reestablishment of the lost foundations, now is the time to start.

Assignment

  1. Review your notes and the Scripture passages from this week’s module. Share the ones that are most meaningful to you, with someone else. The truth will make them free.
  2. What are the things or beings of which you have an ungodly fear? Can you identify the lie behind your fear? Deal with the lie and the fear will fly; and the truth you find will make you free.
  3. Seek God for the holy fear that leads to wisdom, protection, fruitfulness, etc.

Recommended Reading

The following are some of my favorite books on this subject. Most can be found at your local Christian book store, or at one of the many online distributors.

The Fear of the Lord; John Bevere

They Shall Expel Demons; Derek Prince

Humbly yours and forever His,