The Fear Of The Lord

The Way of Wisdom  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:15
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Fear is the beginning of wisdom and leads us into balanced lives.

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1. We now change our approach to studying the book to the book of Proverbs...
a. Using a topical rather than textual approach
b. Noting recurring themes dispersed throughout the proverbs
2. A good topic to begin with is “the fear of the Lord”...
a. Described as “the beginning of knowledge” - Pro 1:7
Proverbs 1:7 ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
b. Also as “the beginning of wisdom” - Pro 9:10
Proverbs 9:10 ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
[Yes, we examined “the fear of the Lord” in an earlier lesson. But it’s importance to living wisely justifies another look. So let’s begin with...]



1. In Hebrew, the word is yara’
2. In the Old Testament, it has a three-fold range of meaning:
a. Dread, terror - Deu 1:29; Jon 1:10
b. To stand in awe (in reference to a king) - 1 Kin 3:28
c. To revere, to respect (in regards to parents) - Lev 19:3
3. Notice when God descended upon Sinai amid geophysical convulsions - cf. Exo 20:18-20
Exodus 20:18–20 ESV
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”
a. Moses encouraged the Israelites to not be afraid of God arbitrarily striking them dead for no reason (“Do not fear!”)
b. He informed them that the Lord revealed Himself in such a terrifying manner to scare them from sinning (“God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”)
-- The proper kind of fear is that which causes one to stand in awe, to revere, to respect


1. We are to fear God, not man - Mt 10:28
Matthew 10:28 ESV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
2. The early church walked in the fear of the Lord - Ac 9:31
Acts 9:31 ESV
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
3. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling -
Philippians 2:12 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
4. We should be fearful of apostasy, serving God with godly fear - He 10:26-31; 12:28-29
Hebrews 10:26–31 ESV
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 12:28–29 ESV
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
-- The fear of the LORD is expressed in reverential submission to his will - NET Bible
[With a proper understanding of the fear of the Lord, we are more likely to appreciate the value of the fear of Lord as revealed in the Proverbs...]



1. We will hate evil - Pro 8:13
2. We will prolong life - Pro 10:27
3. We have strong confidence and a fountain of life - Pro 14:26-27
4. We will be prompted to depart from evil - Pro 16:6
5. We will have a satisfying life, spared from much evil - Pro 19:23
6. We will enjoy riches, honor, and life! - Pro 22:4
-- Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?


1. We deprive ourselves of the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge
2. We will flirt with evil and be corrupted by it
3. Our lives are likely to be shortened by our refusal to heed God’s word (e.g., suffering sexually transmitted diseases if we do not heed His Word on sexual relationships)
4. We will not come to know the love of God that gives assurance and confidence of salvation
5. When fallen into sin, we will not be motivated to repent and turn to God!
6. We will not be motivated to truly “work out our own salvation”
-- Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it?
[The fear of the Lord should be a highly regarded and sought after trait, one that we desire to develop in our lives. With that in mind, here are some suggestions on...]



1. Just as faith comes by hearing the word of God - cf. Ro 10:17
2. The same can be said for the fear of the Lord - cf.
Deuteronomy 31:10–13 ESV
And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
a. Israel was to gather every seven years to read and hear the Word
b. The purpose? “...that they may learn to fear the Lord”
3. As one reads the Word of God, they should gain a healthy degree of the fear of the Lord
a. For example, consider the words of Paul - Ro 2:4-11
Romans 2:4–11 ESV
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
b. Or how about the words of Peter? - cf. 2 Pe 3:7-14
2 Peter 3:7–14 ESV
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
-- Do we allow the Word to develop a proper reverence for the Lord?


1. To avoid extremes we must read all of God's Word
a. Some read only about God’s love, and have no fear of the Lord
b. Others read only about God’s judgment, and know nothing of His loving kindness
c. The one develops an attitude of permissiveness that belittles God’s holiness and justice
d. The other develops a psychosis of terror that forgets His grace and compassion
2. Even in the passages noted above, the context of each speaks much of God’s grace and forgiveness for those who will repent – cf. Ro 2:4-11; 2 Pe 3:7-14
-- We must be careful how we use the Word of God, but use it we must!
1. If we desire to be truly wise, then let us begin with the fear of the Lord
2. Understanding it, appreciating it, and developing it in our lives as children of God!
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” - Ac 9:31
Acts 9:31 ESV
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Wisdom Begins with God’s Plan of Salvation

Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
James 2:19 ESV
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Matthew 10:32–33 ESV
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Luke 13:3 ESV
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Matthew 3:16 ESV
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
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