By Elizabeth Prata
A few years ago I read a book by Jerry Bridges called “The Joy of Fearing the Lord”. It was a book my elder had recommended because he knows how much I enjoy fearing the Lord!
Fearing God is little spoken of these days. The current push in Christian circles is to focus on God’s love, which is magnificent. But not to the exclusion of all His other attributes such as holiness, wrath, and fearing Him. Over-emphasizing one attribute over another is not good. We should have a balanced view of Who God is, as He has revealed Himself to us throughout the Bible.
We fear Him because we love Him for who He IS. Not the lovey-dovey boyfriend God so many women make Him out to be.
On one of the pages author Bridges is talking about Psalm 31:19,
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!”
It’s obvious from this one verse alone that fearing God is approved by God. What does it mean to “fear God”? Gill’s exposition says of the Psalm 31:19 verse,
and this is said to be “for them that fear him”; not naturally, but by his grace; for the fear of God is not in man naturally, but is put there by the grace of God; and such who have it are those who are brought to a true sight and sense of sin, so as to loathe it and forsake it. For the fear of the Lord is to hate evil, and by it men depart from it. Because of it they cannot sin as others do; such have an humble sense of themselves, their own insufficiency and weakness, and trust in the grace of God and righteousness of Christ. They have a filial reverence of God, and worship him in spirit and in truth.
God gives us grace to fear Him! Another grace! What manifold gifts He gives us!
Jerry Bridges says, “God is pictured here like a wealthy person who establishes trust funds for his children to be used after they reach maturity. The money is on hand, but it has been set aside. It isn’t available to the children until they reach the age of maturity. This is what God does for those who fear Him. He sets aside, or stores up goodness for His children, and gives it at appropriate times in the future. What this goodness is, and when it will be bestowed, is unique to each individual according to God’s plan for that person.”
Bridges says, “I came across Psalm 31:19 during my discouraging days. [He had said on the page before that his wife suffered from cancer and had died and agonizing death, during that time he was depressed and discouraged]. “God gave hope that at some point in the future he would once again bestow His goodness, the goodness that He was storing up for me. That’s exactly what happened. In due time God opened up ministry opportunities far beyond anything I had imagined. Ironically, the very circumstances that brought me to those discouraging days were used by God to both equip me and set me free or re ministry He had stored up to bestow in His good time.”
Pretty neat. He goes on to explain that God doesn’t store up for everyone, only those who fear Him, and he went on to explain about fearing God. The book is really good, I’m glad my elder recommended it to me.
Here are some other books and sermons, and essays that discuss fearing God- the right way.
GotQuestions: What does it mean to have the fear of God?