Fearing God

Isaiah 8:11
[The Lord] is the one you should fear (v.13).

Several years ago, I went to the doctor for a
checkup. I’d been feeling poorly for a while—tired,
blue, and lethargic. I knew I needed to lose weight
and return to exercising. However, sitting in that sterile
medical room, across from a serious-looking doctor, my
predicament finally sank in. My cholesterol was high,
and my weight was out of control. I needed to change
. . . or else. The dire possibilities scared me. Thankfully,
I changed directions. But it took fear over my lifestyle’s
consequences for me to find the courage to make the
hard choices.

The prophet Isaiah had to confront Israel’s idolatry.
The people, however, chose not to listen. They had too
many competing concerns. They were concerned for
their economic welfare and social status. They were
fretful about their political enemies and fortunes. Israel
abandoned God because fear gobbled up all their
energy. To this, God simply said, “Don’t live in dread
of what frightens them” (8:12). Rather, God suggested,
“[The Lord] is the one you should fear” (v.13).

Our fears can’t dissipate on their own; something
greater must overwhelm them. Scripture offers at least
two things that overwhelm fear: God’s love for us (1 John
4:18) and our fear of God (Isaiah 8:13). Of course,
fearing God is entirely different from every other fear we
know. To fear God is not cowering in the corner like a
petrified child hiding from an abusive parent. God isn’t abusive.

To fear God is to tremble at the truth that God is entirely holy and all-powerful
and that everything (fears included) bow before this Mighty One. There’s
freedom in knowing that when we fear (bow before, reverence, honor) God, we
need not fear anything else. The God who is strong enough to make us quake is
the one who tenderly comforts us with His love. —Winn Collier

Tour through Proverbs 9:1.
What does it show you
about fearing God? How
do you think the wisdom
writer would define the
fear of God? Where
does ignoring the fear of
God lead?

How could you
misinterpret the idea of
fearing God? In what
other areas of life has
fear helped you?

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