Every day, I read a section of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs.
Three Old Testament passages per day.
One theme constantly emerges: how important it is to “fear the Lord.”
It’s the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, Psalm 111:10) . It’s a life-giving fountain (Proverbs 14:27). It characterized the Messiah’s life (Isaiah 11:2). I could go on and on.
Since it’s stressed so much, I wanted to know what it really means.
My new Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (IVP) says that there are well over a hundred references to the fear of God, as distinct from the terror of him.
So what does it mean to “fear” God in the positive sense?
A light went on for me when I read that it means to be in awe of God.
Suddenly, I understood what a wonderful state it is to live in constant awe of God.
- I’m in awe of how much you love me, that you sent your only Son to earth to suffer and die for me.
- I’m in awe of your power that created–and now sustains–this entire universe.
- I’m in awe of the amazing beauty of egret orchids.
- I’m in awe of how the passages of Scripture I read (seemingly random passages) form a harmony of similar themes.
- I’m in awe that because of your holy nature, your wrath consumes my sin … but because of Jesus’ death and resurrection in which I trust, it doesn’t consume me.
- I’m in awe that your Holy Spirit can speak a personal word into my situation, so that I know how to solve a business problem, or deal with a difficult person, or give me the right word for a friend in distress
- I’m in awe of the majesty of a sunset.
- I’m in awe of ….
I could go on forever. Couldn’t you?
It is, if I may say it, an awesome way to live.
No wonder God tells us to praise him. That’s just an expression of awe. When we praise him, we’re not focusing on our problems, are we? We’re focused on God.
What does that do to our problems?
Find out by trying it. Especially when something is bothering you, switch focus. Find something to be in awe about concerning God. Turn it into a note of praise.
And tell me what happens by commenting below. What about God is awesome to you?