Institute in Basic Life Principles

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What is the fear of the Lord?

The Fear of the Lord
awareness of God’s presence and coming judgment

If we knew that all of our secret thoughts, words, and actions would be displayed publicly so that everyone could watch them and evaluate them, it would make a profound difference in the way we live! We have an instinctive concern about what others think of us and how they will judge the things we do.

If we have this much concern over what other men and women think of us and our actions, how much more should we be concerned about God’s evaluation of our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives?

The Assurance That God Is Watching

Each of us will give an account of our lives to God, and He is fully aware of everything we think, desire, speak, and do. The fear of the Lord is an awareness of these truths. It can be defined as a continual awareness that you are in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God, and that every motive, thought, word, and action is open before Him and will be judged by Him.

The following Scriptures discuss God’s knowledge of our lives and assure us of the coming judgment:

  • “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men (Psalm 11:4).
  • “He that planteth the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94:9).
  • “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. . . . For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. . . . Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139:2, 4, and 12).
  • “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings” (Proverbs 5:21).
  • The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
  • “For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17).
  • “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad” (Luke 8:17).
  • “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:3).
  • “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10).

The fear of the Lord is one of the most valuable treasures that we can gain, because God is our Creator, and if we are to find true success, we have to live according to His design. He knows what is best for our lives. As we gain wisdom about His ways and choose to value what He values, we will mature as His children and our lives will be blessed.

The Bible mentions many benefits of fearing the Lord, including the promise of Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.”

This material is adapted from IBLP’s booklet titled The Overlooked Requirements for Riches, Honor, and Life.

For Further Study

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