“Live in the fear of the Lord always”, says Prov 23:17. “Fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”, says our Lord, in Matt 10:28. “In all things obey … fearing the Lord”, writes Paul in Col 3:22.
Clearly, the fear of the Lord is not optional. But what effect does it have on people, when they truly perceive God in this way?
- When he saw God, Manoah expected instant death (Jud 13:22).
- When he glimpsed God’s holiness, Job repented and retracted all that he had foolishly said (Job 42:5–6).
- When he stood in the presence of God’s holiness, Isaiah pronounced, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” (Isa 6:5)
- When he heard the voice of God, Habakkuk trembled (Hab 3:16).
- When they heard his holy word spoken by the Prophet Haggai, the restored remnant feared God (Hag 1:12).
- When they came face to face with the power and holiness of our Lord, the disciples were struck with fear, (Mark 4:41).
- When sinful Peter came face to face with the sinless purity of his Lord, he implored Christ to depart from him (Luke 5:8).
- When John, James, and Peter heard the voice of God, they fell on their faces and were filled with fear (Mat 17:6).
- When unbelievers perceived Christ’s holy power, they begged him to leave the region (Mark 5:17).
- When the Jerusalem churches experience God’s awesome power, they were in deep awe (Acts 2:43; 5:5, 11), as were the churches throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria (Acts 9:31).
- When he beheld the magnificence of the glorified Christ, John fell in fear at his feet as a dead man (Rev 1:17).
We ourselves are challenged:“Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1).
Based on MacArthur, Alone With God, p61.