The Fear of the Lord CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Four times in Ps 34:7-11, David mentions the fear of the Lord. What is the fear of the Lord? It is exactly what it says it is. It is a fear of God. Like a preacher said, “The unsaved man who fears God will not take chances that my cause God to strike him down. The saved man who fears the Lord does not take chances that might ruin his testimony, ministry, or usefulness, or that might cut his life short.”
Paul said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” When Paul described the judgment seat of Christ, he said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”
I know that it seems incongruous that we should fear the Lord when we are saved because the Bible says, “perfect love casteth out fear.” But without the fear of the Lord we miss some of the greatest benefits of the Christian life. By the fear of the Lord we have:
Victory over other fears – Ps 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Men are naturally afraid of certain things, people, places, and events. When you fear God all of these other fears subside and go away.
Acceptance with God – Ps 34:5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. People are so worried these days about feeling accepted. Among the teens this is peer pressure. By the fear of the Lord we find acceptance with God and can quit worrying about fearing men.
Answerers to prayers – Ps 34:6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. Ps 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. Ps 145:19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. God is inclined to answer the prayers of those who fear him. And he will absolutely refuse to answer the prayers of those who don’t [Prov 1:24-29].
Deliverance from troubles – Ps 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Ps 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. It’s the fear of the Lord that brings you through your troubles, not all the things to which the world looks.
Confidence in the Lord – Ps 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Prov 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence. Imagine having the confidence to know that when you fear the Lord, the angel of the Lord camps around you and delivers you. It is for this reason that David could stand with such confidence before Goliath and be assured of victory. Just look what one angel did to the elite forces of Sennacherib when he killed 185,000 soldiers in one night!!
Provision from the Lord – Ps 34:9-10 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Is 33:6 …the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
Wisdom from God – Ps 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Ps 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Replacing creation with evolution in schools is a testimony to the fact that men have rejected the wisdom of God in favor of the wisdom of man. Any wisdom you need God will give you if you fear him. Many need wisdom to know what to do in this uncertain world. You do not need to fear the future; fear the God who controls the future.
Prolonged life – Ps 34:12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Prov 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days. It is good to take care of yourself, to be moderate in diet, nutrition, exercise and rest. But don’t think that health is all that’s needed to prolong you days; you must fear the Lord and He will prolong your days.
Separation from evil – Ps 34:13-14 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The fear of the Lord is like a fence to protect you. Everything on the outside of the fence is harmful to you and everything inside the fence is beneficial. Too many Christians spend time being allured by things outside the fence and they even hop back and forth to enjoy the pleasures of evil thinking that there will be no consequences to their evil. When you fear God, you will stay away from evil and you will find more joy in his righteousness than happiness in sin. Prov 16:6 … by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Mercy from the Lord – Ps 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him. You need mercy from the Lord if you ever hope to make it to heaven. And you find that mercy in the fear of the Lord. Without his mercy you will be damned in hell. Without the fear of the Lord there is death and judgment. Ps 34:21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. With the fear the Lord there is salvation. Ps 34:22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
Conclusion: When we are out knocking on doors, many times we encounter those who scoff and chide and say, “I don’t want that” or “I don’t need that.” One day these same people will stand before God at the gates of heaven, hoping to get in, and He’ll reply to them like they replied to Him, “I don’t know you!” And the devil will grab them by the collar and throw them headlong into hell as they scream in agony. You’d better fear God and take Him up on his offer of salvation!! Cassandra and Ernest were saved after hearing this sermon Sunday morning.