Pro. 1:7 THE FEAR OF THE LORD
Intro: Proverbs is in a section of the Bible known at "Wisdom Literature."
The other books in this section are Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and The
Song Of Solomon. The focus of these books is instruct men in the ways
of the Lord and in His service and worship. The Book of Proverbs is a
collection of teachings from Solomon to his son, showing the young man
how to live his life in a manner that was pleasing to the Lord. I would say
that we all need that kind of instruction, wouldn't you?
If there is a key verse that unlocks the power and purpose of this great
book, it would be the verse that we have just read. If we are to learn
wisdom and knowledge, it must begin with the fear of the Lord. This is a
subject that isn't preached about much in our day, but it is still vital to the
Christian's faith. We need to know what the fear of the Lord is all about.
This is a very vital line of thought in the Book of Proverbs as it is
mentioned roughly 18 times in its pages. In all, the phrase can be found
27 times in the Bible. If so much emphasis is placed on fearing the Lord,
then I believe that we need to know what it means and how we can go
about doing it. Therefore, I would like to take a few minutes and preach
from this book on The Fear Of The Lord. I believe that the Lord wants to
teach us what this matter of fearing Him is all about. He wants you and me
to grow in our relationship with Him and in our knowledge of Him and the
way knowledge begins is with the fear of the Lord.
I. A DEFINITION OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD
A. What does the phrase "the fear of the LORD" refer to? When we
think of fear, we associate the word with terror. Webster's Dictionary
defines fear as "a feeling of anxiety and agitation produced by the
presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, etc." For many, this would
describe the feeling you get when you see a snake, go to the doctor
or dentist, or when you find yourself in a time of extreme danger. It
is dread of the unknown. Surely, this is not the sensation the writer
of Proverbs is referring to.
In our modern vernacular, the word fear, in the context in which it
is used by Solomon, has been replaced with reverence, awe, great
respect. What the writer of this book is saying is that we are to have
a deep reverence and respect for the Lord. Literally, we are to be
awed and humbled by His presence.
B. What, then, does it mean to fear the Lord? When we truly fear the
Lord, we will recognize that He is the Creator and we are the
creatures. He is the Master and we are the servants. He is the
Father and we are the children. This attitude will manifest itself in our
having a respect for God, His word and in our having a desire to do
what He tells us to in His Bible. We can relate this kind of fear to that
which a child has for his parents. If the right kind of fear is present,
the child knows that his parents can hurt him if there is disobedience,
but overriding that fear is the knowledge that disobedience hurts the
parents and the child loves and respects his parents and does not
want to hurt them. To put it simply, the fear of the Lord is a deep
seated reverence for God that causes men to want to please Him at
(Ill. Genuine fear of the Lord is always seen in obedience to the Word
of God, Pro. 8:13. People who do not walk in line with God's Word do
not fear the Lord, regardless of what they profess with their lips.
Therefore, when we fear the Lord, there is an elements of dread at
what His wrath can do, but there is also such a respect for Him and
for His will that nothing else matters but doing that which pleases the
(Ill. Oswald Chambers, "The remarkable thing about fearing God
is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you
do not fear God, you fear everything else.")
C. Would you describe your life as one lived in the fear of God? Does
the dread of His wrath prompt you to holiness? Does respect for Him
and for His will propel you toward obedience and godliness? We
need to fear of the Lord in our lives!
I. A Definition Of The Fear Of The Lord
II. A DIVIDENDS OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD
(Ill. According to this book, the fear of the Lord will produce certain benefits
in your life and mine. When we fear the Lord, we will find certain things to
A. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33 - It Is The Beginning Of Wisdom
Prov 1:7, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but
fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Prov 9:10, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the
knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Prov 15:33, "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and
before honour is humility."
(Ill. The best place to begin the search for true wisdom is in the fear
of the Lord. True fear of the Lord is born out of a knowledge of how
infinitely powerful, majestic and full of goodness God is. Before one
can grow in the Lord, he must first learn to fear Him.)
B. 3:7; 16:6 - It Motivates People To Holiness
Prov 3:7, "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart
Prov 16:6, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of
the LORD men depart from evil."
(Ill. These verse tell us that the fear of the Lord promotes holy living.
The person who truly reverences and respects the Lord as he should
will not do anything that brings disgrace, dishonor or pain to the heart
of the Lord. People who genuinely fear the Lord will flee from evil.
The prospect of causing the Lord pain will be too great to bear!)
(Ill. Job is a great example of what the fear of the Lord will produce in
your life, Job 1:8)
C. 10:27 - It Prolongs Life -
Prov 10:27, "The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of
the wicked shall be shortened."
(Ill. This is not a blanket promise because any number of things can
happen along the road of life that can take us out of here in an
instant. However, generally speaking, those who live in the fear of
the Lord are more likely to live to a good old age than those who live
for the flesh and the world.)
(Ill. approximately 60% of human illnesses can be traced directly or
indirectly to fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, guilt, hatred, or to any
number of emotional stresses. Add to that the awful pain caused by
alcohol (cirrhosis of the liver), tobacco, (emphysema, cancer, heart
disease), and immorality, (venereal diseases and AIDS), we can see
that a life lived in the fear of the Lord with obedience to His Word will
result in a much healthier existence.)
D. 14:26 - It Produces A Sense Of Security -
Prov 14:26, "In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his
children shall have a place of refuge."
(Ill. When we are walking in the fear of the Lord, we can have
confidence that God is on our side. Notice Romans 8:31, "What shall
we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against
us?" The person who is walking in the fear of the Lord and is living
by the Book will have fewer feelings of insecurity, abandonment and
fear. There will be far fewer times when salvation is doubted. The
fear of the Lord produces a strong sense of security and close
fellowship with the Father. This is a blessed benefit!)
E. 14:27 - It Produces Life -
Prov 14:27, "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from
the snares of death."
(Ill. When we walk in the fear of the Lord, we are stronger spiritually
than we could be otherwise. The fear of the Lord is like a fountain
that continually springs up with spiritual vitality and strength. This
enables the Christian to walk cleaner and closer thus avoiding the
temptations and traps of the devil.)
F. 15:16 - It Makes All Of Life Better -
Prov 15:16, "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great
treasure and trouble therewith."
(Ill. This verse teaches us that it is better to have limited resources
and be in the will of God than it is to have plenty and the trouble that
comes along with it. The bottom line here is this, when you are in the
Lord's will, and when you are walking in His fear, then your care is His
responsibility, Matt. 6:25-33; Phil. 4:19. The life filled with "things" and
riches is a trouble filled life. The life lived in faith and in the fear of
God is literally carefree.)
G. 19:23 - It Produces Satisfaction And Safety -
Prov 19:23, "The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it
shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."
(Ill. The person who lives in the fear of God will be a satisfied person.
They will have one goal in live, pleasing the Lord, and it will have
been met. Therefore, they will have all their needs met and they will
be happy. When we must have other stuff to make us happy, we
never will be! When we learn to be satisfied with the Lord and with
the privilege of walking in His fear, we will be permanently satisfied.
Nothing will matter but the smile of God and it will be upon our lives.
Notice, this verse says that this kind of person will not be visited with
evil. The person who walks in the genuine fear of the Lord need
never fear going to Hell, he need never fear many of the things that
beset the world around him. By his walk in the fear of the Lord, he
brings the smile and the hedge of God into his life, Job 1:10.)
H. 22:4 - It Brings Great Blessings -
Prov 22:4, "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and
honour, and life."
(Ill. The person who chooses to walk in the fear of the Lord can rest
assured that this decision will bring great blessings into his life. There
will be spiritual riches beyond belief, (peace, joy, hope, security, the
promises of God, the presence of God, etc.), there will be honor from
the Lord, and there will be abundant life, John 10:10. The fear of the
Lord, produces the greatest possible life that any person can ever
live. There is no better life upon this earth than a life lived in the will
of the Lord!)
I. A Definition Of The Fear Of The Lord
II. The Dividends Of The Fear Of The Lord
III. A DECISION RELATED TO THE FEAR OF THE LORD
A. To put it very simply, walking in the fear of the Lord is going to have
to be your individual decision. No one can make you do, no one can
do it for you. The decision to live a life that is ordered around a holy,
reverential respect for God is a decision that you must make for
yourself. Al I can do is tell you that deciding to walk in the fear of the
Lord will produce a better life down here and will result in a life
greatly blessed by the Lord. A decision to live outside the fear of the
Lord, that is, living as you please and for yourself, will bring not the
blessings of God, but His judgment to bear in your life. If you are
saved, you will never be able to get away with sin, Rev. 3:19.
B. A life lived in the fear of the Lord will tell on you. If you fear Him,
then you will want to honor him in everything. He will come first and
His will will be paramount in your life. It is easy to see those who
walk in the fear of the Lord. His House is a priority, prayer and the
Scriptures are priorities, everything God says in His Word take
priority and precedent over one's personal will and desires. The
Lord's way becomes the only way.
C. By the same token, a life lived outside the fear of God is easy to pick
out as well. The things of God will be secondary. Other matters will
consistently be placed ahead of the Lord and His will and His work.
This kind of life is usually filled with trouble and trial. There is more
heartache and disaster in a life lived outside the fear of the Lord.
This is not the way God intended the Christian life to be lived!
Conc: Do you understand the fear of the Lord any better? I trust that you
do and that you have allowed the Holy Spirit the opportunity to speak to
your heart and that now, you will do what the Lord has told you to do. If
you know that you are not walking in the fear of the Lord as you should,
then I invite you to come to this altar and deal with that need this evening.
The Lord help us all to walk in a reverential awe of Him, His greatness and
His glory. May His people always be a people who fear the Lord and prove
it by living by His Word!
Sermon By Alan