Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
There are two types of fear: a lower fear of “punishment” and a higher fear of “[divine awe] glory.”
What the “Fear of the Lord” is not?
- Fear of challenging circumstances (Timid): 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear (Timidity, cowardice), but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
- Fear of man (Snare): Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
- Fear of the losing (Bondage): Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
- Fear of judgement (Torment): 1 John 4:17-18 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Reverential fear of God is a higher level of fear that causes us to exercise care in spiritual, moral and relational matters of life, and to have a desire to draw near to Him. The fear of God means we serve with love. When you fear man, there is a lot to fear, but when you fear God there is nothing to fear.
1 The Fear of the Lord was clearly demonstrated in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Akedah: The Binding of Isaac
Genesis 22:1-2 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.
- God will test us, but God will never tempt us (James 1:13) – but the devil will
- God hates and does not permit human sacrifice (Lev. 20:2-3, Deut. 12:31, Deut. 18:10) but God sacrifice His one and only Son Jesus for our sins
- But Abraham certainly will not understand why God would ask him to sacrifice his son Isaac and making matter worst, God did not even tell him which mountain to go
Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering ,and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
- Abraham rose early in the morning. He does not give room to rationalizing, perhaps he knew that he might be tempted, so he followed God’s instruction without delay
- He fears God and obeys Him even when he does not fully understand
Genesis 22:4-5 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
- They travelled for three days and there was no breakthrough – but Abraham pressed on and keep believing in God
- When Abraham was going to sacrifice, he had faith that God can resurrect Isaac
- Faith is the reason why he said, “we will come back”, even when he is about to sacrifice Isaac
Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
- This is a shadow of what is going to happen to Jesus – this is a prophetic event
- Laid the wood on Isaac à Jesus carried the cross and sacrificed for our sin.
Genesis 22:7-8 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
- God will Provide – Ra’ah: to see, look at, look after, inspect, perceived, consider
- Where is the lamb? Jesus is the lamb which the Lord sacrificed for our sin.
Genesis 22:9-10 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
- The Binding of Isaac is known in Hebrew as the Akedah
- Isaac is no longer a child; certainly above 30 years of age when this happened
- When he was being bound, he is sure to know that he is the sacrifice, yet he still obeyed his father Abraham allowing him to be bound – this is Akedah
- He understood that Abraham fear God more than he love him.
Genesis 22:11-14 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
- Isaac was instilled with the fear of the Lord as he witnessed how God tested Abraham
- The Lord will provide (Ra’ah)– To see, look at, look after, inspect, perceive, consider
- As we fear God, we see life very differently – we will see what God sees, life filled with awe and wonders. We will see that wherever we are, it is Holy because of the presence of God.
- This draw us to walk this life with fear and trembling before God.
- Most importantly, when we fear God, God will see to it and He will provide
Genesis 31:42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
- This was during Jacob’s confrontation with Leban, when he quoted “The fear of Isaac”
- It is referring to his father Isaac who worships God with reverence and godly fear
- Jacob and Laban set up a Memorial Stone as a covenantal relationship between two of them
Genesis 31:53 May the God of Abraham and Nahor—the God of their father—judge between us.” So Jacob swore this oath by the Fear of his father Isaac.
- Jacob stayed with Laban for 20 years and instead of compromising in swearing in the name of the idols of Laban’s forefathers, he sworn this oath by the Fear of his father Isaac: Akedah
Choose the fear of the Lord by Repenting, Renewing, and Receiving