The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. – Proverbs 10:27
Fear of the Lord is an interesting concept. How can we fear God? Doesn’t he love us? This isn’t the only place that the fear of the Lord is mentioned. So, does this mean that we should be scared of him? Absolutely not! We know that he loves us. We know that he cares about us. Fear of the Lord, for those that believe in him, is not referencing being scared of him. Rather, it has to do with our reverence and respect of him. We must have an awe of the Lord. He is the one who spoke everything into existence. He is the one who calmed the stormy seas (Matthew 8:24-27). He is the one who took on human flesh and died for us. He is the one who rose from the dead. How could we not fear him in the sense of being in awe of him? This type of fear moves us to love him and to honor him. It is not because we are scared he will strike us down with a lightning bolt. It is because we respect and love him.
This verse does draw a distinction between two groups of people. Those that fear the Lord and the wicked. Those who are saved and not saved. Nonbelievers do not have the same fear of the Lord as believers. If they did, they would not be nonbelievers. They should still have fear, but their fear is not out of respect, but out of genuine terror of the judgement that will come to all people eventually. There is still time for a proper fear to come to those who don’t believe, which leads to forgiveness from God on the day of judgement through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Now, this verse is not saying that you will die early if you are not saved, but it does raise some points. Proverbs are general truths, not absolute promises. A life style that is not pleasing to God, is typically going to bring trouble. Sin is dangerous to the body and soul. A fear of the Lord leads us to live a less sinful life. That fear comes because of our faith in him and what he has done. We can fear and love him because he died for us and freed us from our sins. As we grow in the fear of the Lord, we grow in our wisdom.
Father God, you are a great and awesome God. Lord, we love you and all that you have done for us. Lord, please grow a healthy fear of you in our hearts. Please help us remember the wonderful works you have done. Please show us your power and your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
– KC Ellson