What do you fear the most? What Bible verse do you think of when you think of fear? Are there encouraging Scriptures you know about fear?
The Fear of the Lord
Usually when we think of fear, we think of something that terrifies us and we usually don’t like fear but a healthy fear keeps us alive. For example, a person will not usually climb a high ladder that is not steady or one that is old and have steps that are cracked or broken. The fear of God is not a fear of being struck down by Him but one that is a reverential fear and a fear of God is a deep sense of respect and awe for God. When Jesus was teaching or talking to the disciples, he actually spoke about fear more than any other subject because He knows we are mere humans. We fear the unknown, we fear the future, and we sometimes fear even that which we do know.
Here are seven Bible verses about fear with a personal commentary or a person reflection about my own journey with the occasional fearful times.
Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Here is a touching verse because the reason He tells us to not fear is because He is with us. When my son, now grown, was very young he was particularly afraid of the dark. He felt better when his door was left cracked opened and he could see our bedroom door open. It was worse if his door closed, even if he had a nightlight, which he did. He wanted that door open just to make the connection with dad. He was not dismayed or fearful in falling asleep because he knew the door was open and he could see my bedroom door. Even though I was not physically present with him in his bedroom, just as God is not physically with us, He is still with us just as I was in the nearness of my proximity to my son’s door. God not only says He will help us, and will uphold us (hold us up) but He does so with His righteous (pure, holy) right hand (the symbol of strength). Why should we fear if He is with us and upholds us? He is God and not only that; He is our God!
First John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
It seems that fear is increased when someone is guilty and in my old pot smoking days, I used to fear every time a police car followed me, even if it was just a coincidence. I had reason to fear. I was breaking the law but God’s perfect love, displayed perfectly on the cross by Christ, casts out all fear. This is so because we now have peace with God (Rom 5:1) and are no longer children of wrath (Eph 2:3). Now when I have a police car behind me, I just check the speedometer and then say I have no reason to fear. God’s perfect love has cast out all of our fears because “this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Proverbs 1:8 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The fear of the Lord is not just the beginning of wisdom; it is the fulfillment of wisdom. My children feared disobeying me. Not because I was going to spank them but they feared that the consequences of the discipline would far outweigh what they did wrong. This might be no video games for three days or extra chores around the house. So they began to fear the consequences of making bad decisions and so their actions were more in compliance with the household rules. They became wise from the fear of consequences of disobedience. So too does a believer began to wise up when they see that the fruit of disobedience only hurts them and God disciplines us because He loves us (Heb 12:7).
Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
As I said before, fear is a natural mechanism to prevent us from hurting ourselves but the lack of a fear of God is a lack of fear from punishment. When people don’t fear God they tend to be more lawless. What is the result of a society that has no fear of God? Romans 3:10-18 tells us what happens when the fear of the Lord is gone from the world in which we live: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” That is our world today and it is because the vast majority of mankind does not fear God.
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Whenever we fear man above God we are saying that we care more about what men and women think than what God thinks. That is me sometimes, especially when I share the gospel of Christ, however the older I get the less I care what other people think about me. What is most important is not what people think about me but what God knows about me. Trusting in God is safe but the fear of man will trip you up every time.
Hebrews 13:5-6 “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me.”
When you have trusted in Christ, you can have confidence on the day of salvation. Paul was sure of his salvation but he also told the church at Philippi “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:3-6). This type of bold confidence destroys the fear of judgment on the day of His visitation. Who has to worry about mankind if “the Lord is [your] helper?”
Matthew 10:26-28 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Jesus was just telling the disciples, prior to this comment, that they would be persecuted but they are not to fear any man but the one to really fear is the One Who can destroy both body and soul. Humans can just take your life but God can take both and will do so for those who refuse to repent and trust in Christ (Rev 20:11-15).
If you have not yet placed your trust in Christ, then you have every reason to fear the judgment of God and someday that judgment will come suddenly and unexpectedly so please don’t put this eternal decision off another moment. Tomorrow might be too late. While it is still today, I strongly suggest you trust in Christ (2 Cor 6:2) because no one knows if tomorrow will even come (Prov 27:1).
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon