Two types of fear of the Lord
We read in the Bible that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We also see people fear-stricken of God to the point that they want to run away and have nothing to do with Him. Then the other day, I was driving down the road listening to a sermon on the fear of the Lord, when the Holy Spirit spoke to me and showed me some things about the fear of the Lord. Did you know that there are two completely different types of fear of the Lord? There’s the fear of the Lord that is an awe and respect, love and reverence, which leads us closer to Him, and leaves us in awe over His awesomeness. Such fear of the Lord is the kind that the Lord speaks of when He says that fear of Him is the beginning of wisdom. When this fear sweeps over us, our faith soars, and there is a holy respect for God and His ways. Such a fear causes us to run from and want nothing to do with sin in our lives. This type of fear changes and transforms us into the image and likeness of Christ.
The other kind of fear of God is destructive and evil. It is the type that we see in deliverance sessions where people are paranoid over God being angry with them. It is seen in people who are afraid to get close to God and develop their relationship with Him. Such fear drives us away from God instead of to Him. This is the type of fear that Satan set Adam and Eve for in the garden after they sinned.
To further prove this point, I want to point that scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord leads to a long life, among other good things. It is really clear that those who are paranoid over God, as if He were angry with them, often have serious health problems (both mental and physical) if the problem is not addressed. Many end up in mental hospitals as a direct result of their spiritual bondage. Is that the fruit of the fear that God wants us to have? Not at all!
Of course, we can also turn the the Hebrew language to find that there are indeed more than one type of fear, and they do not mean the same thing. In Psalms 34:4, David talks about the Lord delivering him from all his fears (the bad kind of course), but the Hebrew word there is mgurah which means fright. There is your afraid type of fear. Now if we turn to Psalms 115:13, where it speaks of the fear of the Lord, we find a different meaning. This time the word fear has a root Hebrew word of yare, which means to be morally reverent.
Do you have the fear of the Lord? If so, what kind is it? Does it leave you in awe over the goodness of God, and transform you into His image? Or does it cause you to slack off on spending time with Him, because you’re afraid to get too close? Does it cause you to be afraid and scared that God is somehow angry with you? Remember, not all types of fear are the same, and that’s why it’s so important for us to be discerning about what type of fear that we have for God. Is it good and yields good fruit? Or is it driving us further away from God?
Blessings in Christ,