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The Fear of the Lord

Perhaps no other subject is more controversial and difficult to communicate than the message of the fear of the Lord. Most speakers refrain from teaching on this topic because it is not a popular message. 

It fails to draw the attention of larger crowds. Yet, the fear of the Lord is a profound truth that spans across both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. It is mentioned over 300 times in Scripture. The fear of the Lord is on display in the New Testament just as much as in the Old Testament. Paul was gripped by it, Peter wrote extensively about it, and it inspired the early church. If the early church leaders were closely tied to the Fear of the Lord, why are so many in the church today afraid to discuss this subject? Why is this message still hiding in the churches’ closet? I say it’s time for it to come out.

So, what is the fear of the Lord? Solomon sheds incredible light on this discussion. He suggests that it is more than just a message. It is an attribute of who God is as a person that leads us to life through the pathway of divine wisdom. Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of the Lord leads to life” (Proverbs 9:10; 14:27). We are also informed that the fear of the Lord equips us with confidence as we step into experiencing this side of God (Proverbs 14:26). From this, we discover the fear of the Lord anchors us into the very expression of His nature.

The fear of the Lord is more than just respecting Him. It’s even more than just having a reverent approach to Him. It’s deeper than that. The fear of the Lord is relational by design and draws us to connect with Him on a deeper level. Solomon drove this home when he defined it by stating, “the fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way” (Proverbs 8:13). Have you ever considered there are some things God really hates? Receiving and walking in the fear of the Lord means you get so close to God you learn to hate what He hates and love what He loves. It drives you towards Him and not away from Him.  

Unfortunately, many in the church today don’t see it this way. They associate the fear of the Lord with punishment and judgment that drives them further away from God’s presence. 

The root of this problem is ignorance. 

God said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:1). The prince of darkness, Satan, has worked overtime to keep this generation in the dark prison of ignorance concerning the fear of the Lord. Still, what would it look like if the current generation began to step into carrying the fear of the Lord? Imagine a church, a community, or a city where gossip, jealousy, and pride are no longer allowed to operate. He is looking for fathers and mothers who will instruct His people in the fear of the Lord as the prophets of old did to the kings of Israel. I am convinced it is the word of the hour. No doubt, it will be the driving catalyst that ushers in the next move of God.  

Michael Thornton
Michael Thornton
Michael lives with his wife and 5 kids in Simpsonville, SC and together they pursue an awakening of the hearts of worshipers in America.

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  1. Thank you, brother Michael for expounding on this most important topic. It is a concept that is bound and gagged in the closet of many believers’ hearts. God will not have it. Thank you for sharing it. I have been considering teaching on it at an upcoming women’s retreat and was delighted to find your article. As a biblical counselor, I find it is a huge lack in the lives of many the cause of many addictions.
    Blessings upon you as you grow in this mysterious gift…


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