Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fear of the Lord – A Gift from the Spirit?

In both the old and new testaments writers have spoken about seven gifts given to those who love God. In the Old Testament one finds mention in Isaiah 11:2-3. The prophet names them:the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power,the spirit of knowledge and fear of Yahweh.
In the New Testament Paul includes the gifts in his first Letter to the Corinthians. Paul was a convert to Chrisianity from Judaism and a learned scholar in the faith of both beliefs. It was probably easy for him to translate one universal idea into a world wide understanding. And so in his sermon/letter to the church he founded in Corinth he names the gifts of the Spirit of God. He tells his congregation these gifts are given to all and we must make use of them for the good of all.
Now that is fine with me but Fear of the Lord/Yahweh has always bothered me. I do not like to be afraid of anyone or anything and living in fear has awful connotations. So I spent some time trying to figure out what it is the Lord actually expects from us when we hold “Fear of the Lord” as a gift from God.
I propose that this is not fear in the sense of scare but fear as in being in awe. When we reverence someone or something, be it a title, person, action, we are in awe of that something. We hold that idea in high esteem. Ireally like that thought. We admire that someone; we are astonished by that action. So many times we hear in the New Testament “Do not be afraid.” In one of John’s Letters he says perfect love casts out fear.
God asks for love; he gives me love; he is love. How could God want me to fear him? I really thinks he loves me; created me;
and wants my love, respect,and best self in return. Oh! a much better thought!