Fear God?


Why should I “Fear” God? God is love. I love God and am a child of God; He is a Good father and only gives good gifts. So why should I fear God? His desire is that none should perish! Our God is a God that loves me so much He was willing to let His Son die for my sins. So why should I fear a God like that?


Let’s take a look at just a few verses that exhort us to “Fear” God. Then, let’s see if we can answer the question.

*   (Eccl 12:13 NIV)  Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear (3372) God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

*   (Deu 10:12-13 NIV)  And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear (3372) the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, {13} and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

3372. yare', yaw-ray'; a prim. root; to fear; mor. to revere; caus. to frighten:--affright, be (make) afraid, dread (-ful), (put in) fear (-ful, -fully, -ing). (be had in) reverence (-end), X see, terrible (act, -ness, thing).

*   (Luke 1:50 KJV)  And his mercy is on them that fear (5399) him from generation to generation.

5399. phobeo, fob-eh'-o; from G5401; to frighten, i.e. (pass.) to be alarmed; by anal. to be in awe of, i.e. revere:--be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence.

*   (2 Tim 1:7 KJV)  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear (1167); but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (Timidity in NIV)

1167. deilia, di-lee'-ah; from G1169; timidity:--fear.

*   (1 John 4:18 NIV)  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

5401. phobos, fob'-os; from a prim.  phebomai (to be put in fear); alarm or fright:--be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.


Obviously this last “Fear” is unlike “Fear” in the previous passages. Like many words “Fear” has more than one meaning and needs context to be understood.


American Heritage® Dictionary, 4th Ed. with thesaurus


1. a. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

 b. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.

2. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.

3. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.

4. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.


So then, what does it mean to “Fear” God? Well the answer is at least two-fold.


First, we should approach God with the utmost respect. We should be in awe of all of His attributes and manifestations. This is the “Reverence” fear.

Second, we should fear God when we are not practicing the first fear! This is the terribly afraid kind of fear. If we find ourselves unconcerned about God’s place in our lives then we have good reason to be “Fear”-ful of God.


God is indeed a God of love but He is also a God of justice. He does not make empty promises nor does he make idle threats. There is indeed a time of rewarding and a time of punishment. Which applies to you depends on you and your relationship with God! One kind of fear leads to the reward the other kind of fear leads to the punishment. Let’s look at a few examples.


*   (Heb 11:24-27 NIV)  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. {25} He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. {26} He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. {27} By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. He feared God not Pharaoh!

*   (Col 3:23-25 NIV)  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, {24} since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. {25} Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism. Repaid here clearly indicates punishment!

*   (Mat 25:41-46 NIV)  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. {42} For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, {43} I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' {44} "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' {45} "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' {46} "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." There it is, reward & Punishment

*    (2 Th 1:8-9 NIV)  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. {9} They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.


So should we fear God? Absolutely! Should we be afraid of God? Only if we oppose Him! You are either with Him or you are against Him. There is no middle ground!


I love that old time preaching; the kind that put the “Fear” of God into people; the kind that would scare the “Hell” out of you. So, the question isn’t whether or not you should fear God. The real question is how will you fear God. Revere God and love Him now or fear God on the Day of Judgment when it’s to late to scare the hell out of you!


(Josh 24:15 NIV)  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."