I use to think fear of the Lord meant to be afraid of the Lord because if I did anything he would punish me.
But, if fear is a bad thing, then what do you do with the 300 plus scriptures that speak of fearing the Lord in a positive way?
For instance in Isaiah 11: 1-2 says,
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
This is Jesus fearing his Father. He certainly didn’t dread His Father, nor was he terrified of his judgement. But He honored, revered, trusted, loved and summited to His Father.
In Acts 9: 31 That this positive fear of the Lord that I want to talk about.
If was important for Jesus and the early believers to fear God, then it would be a good idea for us to learn what the fear of the a Lord really is.
I want to give you a few examples.
In America today, we see a total disregard for authority. But the fear of the Lord includes respecting authority- from police officers and government officials to pastors and ministers. If people don’t like those in authority they are being taught to storm the castle and overthrow those in power by any means. But that is not what the Word of God teaches, and it is contrary to the fear of the Lord.
Romans 13: 1-2 says
Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained by God. Whosoever therefore resists the powers, resists the ordinance of a God: and that that resist shall receive themselves damnation.
That’s a powerful message, and it makes it very clear that God ordained governments and expects us to be subject to them. Government, even bad government, is superior to anarchy.
Does this mean that communism or a dictatorship is good form of government? No, but they still have a God-given power to govern, even if their government is not based on the principles of the Word of God.
The same is true in the church
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets: and some evangelists: and some pastors as teachers: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying elf the body of Christ.
James 3: 16 says
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
This is not the fear of the Lord, and it opens the door to sickness, disease, poverty, divorce, poverty, and more.
This doesn’t mean that all pastors or ministers function exactly the way God wants them to. And it doesn’t means you have to drink the Kool-Aid so to speak, just because they are in leadership.
All leaders make mistakes, and there is always room for improvement. But there are still in a place of authority, and honoring them is honoring God.