If you have read much in the OT, you have come across the "fear of God" many times. The study of fear, as used in scripture has provided me with an amazing journey from my own scottish Crest to Catholic doctrine, Islamic doctrine, Jewish doctrine, and of course the various forms of Christian doctrine. Since my last name is "MONRO," I can trace my family history to the mountains of northeastern Scotland. Yes, Clan Monro sprouted from the hills. They were sort of Gaelic hillbillies, if you will...Their accents were thick with a tribal language that was native to that area. It was passed down for many generations, and in some of the hinterlands way up North, they still prefer Gaelic over the King's English. My grandfather hailed from a transitional generation that spoke both Gaelic and English with a thick brogue. It was and honor to hear him speak because our family heritage just oozed out of every pore in his body. Long ago he showed our family the Monro Crest for the first time, along with his kilts, bagpipes and special plaid. To this day, I remember that the Crest said, "DREAD GOD," in big bold letters. Back then and quite frankly right now, I still wonder why they chose to "dread" our Creator. Well now I know, and soon you will too.
Dreading or Fearing our Lord seems quite paradoxical at first blush, because how can you love and fear Him at the same time? The NT mentions this fear, but spends much more time on the subject of love. The OT is quite the opposite and here are examples of both:
- And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to FEAR the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your HEART and SOUL."
- He will be a sure foundation FOR YOUR TIMES, a rich store of Salvation and Wisdom and Knowledge. THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE KEY TO THIS TREASURE.
- His mercy extends to those who FEAR Him from generation to generation.
- I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should FEAR; FEAR him who, after killing the body, has the power to through you into Hell.
- Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, FEAR God, honor the king.
- Their are no books listed on purpose...Just read though these and select which ones you think are from the the OT or the NT. This word fear is used 74 times in the KJV, so it is very important for us to understand it completely.
God requires a level of respect or reverence that transcends our use of the word, fear...Fear from our vantage point is a very negative emotion. Enough of the detrimental type of fear, and our minds and bodies begin to break down...This is NOT the fear of our Lord. Not having the fear of God in your heart and soul, eliminates growth in righteousness, wisdom and knowledge simply because fear is the beginning of these gifts from God. Without genuine respect and reverence, you end up hollow where is counts the most, in your heart. Additionally, as Isaiah points out that discipline and/or discretion also is an important feature in the fear of our Lord.
In Isaiah 20:13, He says, "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near to me with their MOUTH, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart from FAR from me, and their FEAR toward me is taught by the precept of men:"
Continuing Isaiah says that God's people know the Word of God, precept by precept, line by line, a little here and a little there. In other words their belief in God has been reduced to rote memorization and mechanical doctrine. We know it and can recite it, but we don't feel it!! On the outside we draw near with our mouths only!! Wow, this is powerful scripture...God draws a clear line in the sands of time between stark, barren and rote HYPOCRISY pushed on saints throughout the ages. LOVE of our God begins with righteous fear, reverence and respect for our Creator.
Further, the love of God always starts and stays internal, no matter your religious persuasion. I write mostly for Christian believers, but this same concept is exactly, and I mean exactly the same for Christian, Jew, Muslim or Catholic. It is the very reason we all seek the one true God. It has been instilled in all humanity with their first breathe of life. Everyone claims to have the ONLY path to God. Everyone has studied precept on precept, line by line in a church, mosque or synagogue somewhere. Some pray, some chant, some sing and some dance, but know this; anything you do externally without divine Love in your heart and soul is hollow.
I question my belief system all the time. I ask God to teach me how not to be hollow, because there are times I feel empty and alone. Understanding, Wisdom and Discernment only come from our Heavenly Father. Memorize, legalize, and chant from dawn to dusk, the precepts of God, but remember this...If your heart and soul don't biblically fear your Maker, you are nothing but a well educated and gifted hypocrite.