The Scriptures tell us that the “Fear of Yahuwah [the LORD]” is the beginning of wisdom:
“The fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever.” (Psalms 111:10; see also Job 28:28)
The phrases ‘the fear of the LORD’ and ‘fear the LORD’ and ‘fear God’ and ‘fear Him [God]’ appear at least 90 times throughout the Scriptures. This frequency tells us that this topic of the fear of Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God] is a foundational principle for the children of Yahuwah.
Acquiring ‘the fear of Yahuwah’ is the very first step we must take on our pathway to acquiring wisdom! We cannot even come close to having true wisdom, unless we have the fear of Yahuwah.
But why is the fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] so important?
In the first place, Yahuwah Elohim – the LORD God, the God of Truth, the King of Glory – is bigger, smarter, and more powerful than you and me! He is the Creator of the universe – Creator of the heavens, the earth, and all creatures. And He is the Creator of you – spirit, soul, and body!
Yahuwah Elohim is the only Righteous, Living, Eternal, All-Mighty God. He alone is unlimited in His abilities, and He is infinitely superior to all human wisdom, reasonings, and abilities! He is invincible. He is irresistible. He is immutable. He is immortal. Heaven is His throne, and the earth His footstool! (Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 45:21b-22; 1Timothy 1:17)
Therefore we – who are made from the dust of the earth, and yet, we are also God’s most precious of creations – we ought to do our utmost to honour, obey, and fear so great a King! (Psalms 8:3-5)
And so, with this very brief description of the King of the universe, it is certainly apparent why we must fear, respect, and be in awe of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God].
For Our Well-Being
Yahuwah tells us that it is very important for His children to ‘Fear God’:
“… it shall be well with them that fear God!” (Ecclesiastes 8:12b; see also Ecclesiastes 12:13; Leviticus 19:14, 32; 25:17; Deuteronomy 4:10; 6:2, 13, 24; 8:6).
These verses teach us that it is for our well-being that we fear God. Surely we would like things to be well with us! Yahuwah, who created us and loves us immensely, knows it is for our good to learn to ‘Fear God!’
Let us therefore pursue this wonderful characteristic of the ‘Fear of the LORD!’
The Hebrew Word ‘Fear’
There is something mysterious about the ‘Fear of Yahuwah’. It seem elusive and difficult to understand. Usually, if we are afraid, we want to avoid whatever we fear. However, when we study this topic, we find that it is not as mysterious as we thought.
The word ‘fear’, as seen in Psalms 111:10a – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” – is the Hebrew word “yir’ah” <Strong’s #3374>, the root word being “yar’ey” <Strong’s #3372>, which can be traced to the primitve root word being “ya-rah” <Strong’s #3384>.
The meaning of ‘yir’ah’ and its root word ‘yar’ey’ are very similar: meaning ‘fearing, fearful, to be afraid exceedingly, dreadful, honourable reverence, and to be had in reverence’.
The meaning of the primitive root word ‘ya-rah’ has the meaning of ‘to flow as water, to point out, and to teach’.
This Hebrew word for ‘fear’ basically means reverence to the point of fearing, or we could say, to the point of trembling as if our insides are ‘flowing’.
This gives us a better understanding of what the fear of Yahuwah is all about. Our fear of Yahuwah is to be with great reverence to the point that our insides are trembling as though “flowing”.
This is how King David describes it:
“My flesh trembles for fear of You; and I am afraid of Your judgments” (Psalm 119:120).
King David was a king with great authority, and who also greatly loved Yahuwah. And yet, David trembled in fear [and alarm] of Yahuwah Elohim, the King of all kings. At times, King David probably felt like his insides were trembling or ‘flowing’ from fear of The Great King who is above all kings!!
The fear of Yahuwah means having the same heart attitude toward the heavenly Father as King David did! Though King David had his flaws, weaknesses, and sins, just as we all do, David maintained his fear of Yahuwah. How can we know this? Because David continued to be willing to receive Father’s Word at very personal and decisive moments. David was quick to repent of his sins, quick to return to his commitment to walk according to Yahuwah’s Word, quick to return to a humble and contrite spirit!
Notice how the prophet Isaiah put it:
But to this man will I look [saith the LORD], even to him that is poor [humble] and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word (Isaiah 66:2b).
Father tells us from the above verse, that He looks for those who are poor [humble], contrite [sorrowful for sins], and those who tremble at His Word! To “tremble at His Word” is to reverence Yah’s written Word, in a humble and obedient manner. To “tremble at His Word” is to do our best to be obedient to Yahuwah’s Words, just as our Saviour did!
The kind of fear we are exhorted to have toward God is a fear that springs from a genuine respect and awe for Yahuwah. It is a good and healthy kind of fear because it is based in a confident conviction that the heavenly Father knows the secrets of our heart, and yet He loves us and wants to help us walk with Him.
A Man After My Own Heart
There is a special quality of King David’s heart attitude that helps us understand the fear of God.
King David wanted the WORD of Yahuwah as his guide and counsellor on every level of his life, as Psalms 119 reveals over and over. King David had a heart to receive Yahuwah’s Word personally, as his most intimate companion and comfort, and his most supreme authority! David’s passion for Yahuwah’s Word gave him a very unique and distinct honour from Yahuwah:
“I [Yahuwah] have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.” (Acts 13:22b)
Oh that we would have such a heart as David’s — to love Yahuwah’s WORD passionately and personally, and thereby enable us to fulfill Yahuwah’s wishes for us:
And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I have loved. 48) My hands also will I lift up unto Your commandments, which I have loved…. (Psalms 119:47-48a)
With David’s love for God’s Word, along with his fear of God, the Scriptures reveal that God was intimately merciful to David repeatedly. David himself declared to God: Great is Your mercy toward me! (Psalms 86:13a)
Many verses teach us this combination – love of God’s Word goes along with our fear of God:
You shall walk after Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God], and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)
From the above passage and many others, we see that love of God’s Word, which is demonstrated by our obedience to His Word, is the key to learning the fear of Yahuwah.
The fear of Yahuwah is a good, healthy, and proper kind of fear for Yahuwah’s children to have! Do we have this kind of fear? Do we tremble in fear at the WORD of Yahuwah, so that we desire to obey His Commandments?
The WORD of God is Alive
Many of us need to adjust our attitude toward God’s written Word!!
God’s written Word is to be our guide, our companion, in everything we do! We need to accept His Word as it is — accept it completely, passionately, honouring it with all our heart — making sure we are receiving it personally, without any twistings from man-made ideas or deceptions!
God’s Word reveals who He is, and therefore it is in no way common or trivial, and especially, it is not debatable!
May it be that we will seriously embrace the TRUTH as revealed in Hebrews 4:12:
- The Word of God is alive.
- The Word of God is powerful.
- The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword.
- The Word of God pierces, dividing between the soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow.
- The Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Walking in the Fear of Yahuwah
There are at least fourteen verses found in Deuteronomy where Yahuwah’s children are exhorted to LEARN to “fear Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God]” (see Deuteronomy 4:10; 5:29; 6:2,13,24; 8:6; 10:12,20; 13:4; 14:23; 17:19; 28:58; 31:12,13).
Rather than list all these verses here, it is clear from these fourteen verses, that the following points reveal the steps we need to take in order to learn the fear of Yahuwah:
- Hearken to [hear and obey] all of Yahuwah’s Words;
- Carefully obey the instructions of Yahuwah;
- Have a copy of Yahuwah’s Torah [Old Testament writings] and read it regularly — Torah is God’s instructions and teachings for all of His children [the word ‘Torah’ is often translated as ‘law’];
- Hearken to [hear and obey] all the Words of this Torah.
These are clues to help us know if we are seeking to learn and walk in the fear of Yahuwah.
When we are truly walking in the fear of Yahuwah, then we will behave and speak with great reverence and loyalty about Yahuwah’s Truth — His Character and His WORD! Our heart’s desire will be to obey Father’s Word, beginning with His Torah, just as our Saviour did! We will want to honour and please God in everything we do (Psalms 119:35, 47, 59-60, 97, 142; John 8:29; 1Corinthians 10:31)!
When we have the proper fear of Father God, then we will earnestly seek to avoid any sort of evil actions or practices, as explained in His written Word. Only the wicked have no fear God (Psalms 36:1; Proverbs 16:6). But when we have the proper fear of God, we will want to avoid the things that Yahuwah hates, and we will begin to love the things that delight our Abba Father!
As we learn the wisdom of walking in the fear of Yahuwah [the LORD],
- we will want to do as wisdom instructs us – to hate evil and pride and arrogance, especially within ourselves (see Proverbs 8:12-13).
- we will be inspired us to begin delighting ourselves in Father’s Word as King David did (see Psalms 119).
- we will begin to know how exceptional and immense the love of Yahuwah is!! Why? Because as we study and become a “DO-er” of His Word, He continually reminds us of His intimate and loving care for His children! (Psalms 91:14; Proverbs 8:17; Song of Songs 1:2b; Isaiah 38:17; Jeremiah 31:3; John 14:21).
- we will want to hide God’s Word in our heart, and spend one-on-one time with Him in our prayer closet, so that we can be sensitive to His leading, being careful to not offend Him, or sin against Him (Psalms 119:11).
All the above characteristics show us what it means to ‘tremble at His Word!’ This is how we show our honour, respect, and obedience to our heavenly Father. When we are truly walking in the fear of God, then we are delivered from the bondage and snare of the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). The genuine fear of God helps us to confidently trust Father’s power and grace and goodness to strengthen us in the face of man’s opposition!
Walking in the fear of Yahuwah brings us great comfort, as He reminds us that He is our Father — our supreme and highest authority, and we belong to Him!
All parents want their children to honour and respect them. Our heavenly Father desires the same thing — to be honoured, respected, obeyed, and loved (Malachi 1:6)!
Those That Fear Yahuwah
Let us conclude with a brief look at this phrase: “them that fear Him”.
As we can see from the following verses, the rewards for walking in the ‘fear of the LORD’ ought to inspire us and motivate us to pursue a closer, more intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, with all our heart:
The angel of Yahuwah [the LORD] encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivers them. (Psalms 34:7)
O fear Yahuwah [the LORD], you His saints: for there is no lack to them that fear Him. (Psalms 34:9)
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. (Psalms 103:11)
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them. (Psalms 145:19)
Yahuwah [The LORD] takes pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy. (Psalms 147:11)
Do you see the awesome rewards?
- The angel of Yahuwah surrounds those who fear Yahuwah!
- Those who fear Yahuwah have no lack!
- Those who fear Yahuwah have His great mercy!
- Yahuwah fulfills the desires of those who fear Him!
- Yahuwah delights in those who fear Him!
Not only are there great rewards for walking in the fear of Yahuwah, but let us also remember: the fear of Yahuwah is the Beginning of Wisdom — the very FIRST step for acquiring wisdom!
When we have the fear of Yahuwah, then we are entering into the hidden treasures of wisdom (Colossians 2:3)!
Wisdom — the price of it is far ‘above rubies‘ — is truly a treasure! [See Job 28:12-28.]
Let us draw nearer to our heavenly Father and begin to cultivate this amazing quality — ‘the fear of the LORD!’
We will then be on the pathway to gaining Yahuwah’s true, enduring, and priceless wisdom!
- Learning to Hear Father’s Voice: Removing the Obstacles
- Only The Wise Shall Understand
- Acquiring a Teachable Heart
- The Holy Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth
- Obeying Torah is Not About Salvation
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins: Steps to Obtaining Wisdom
- WWYD — What Would Yahushua Do?
- Thy Torah is My Delight