When did people become so afraid of things? It started soon after “the beginning.”
“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid.” Genesis 3:9-10
Adam heard the voice of God and was “afraid.” The Hebrew word is yare and means “an intense fear, dread, frightened, terrified.” Adam knew he had disappointed His Creator and was terrified when God called for him. Why was Adam afraid? He knew God would do what He promised – “you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
Adam became aware of what it means to FEAR the Lord because he did not FEAR the Lord. Adam should have feared God when He said – “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” (Genesis 2:16-17) If Adam had feared God enough to obey Him, he would not have had to “fear” God because he disobeyed Him.
We have the same choice today. We can FEAR the Lord or we can FEAR the Lord. We can FEAR the Lord and be wise or FEAR the Lord because we are foolish. Our choice.
What does King Solomon say will happen to a person who fears God?
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 19:23
Even as not fearing God led to death for Adam, the FEAR of the Lord “leads to life,” and a very good life it is. The person who fears God “will abide in satisfaction” and will “not be visited with evil.” This is a BIG difference between those who FEAR God and those who do not. The Hebrew words for “abide in satisfaction” mean a person will “lodge, stay all night, continue in a settled state.” Here are other translations of Proverbs 19:23 that shed light on the meaning:
“The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” KJV
“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” NIV
” The fear of Jehovah tendeth to life; And he that hath it shall abide satisfied; He shall not be visited with evil.” ASV
“The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” NASB
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” ESV
“The fear of the LORD leads to life; one will sleep at night without danger.” HCSB
People who FEAR the Lord can sleep without fear at night. They’re not looking over their shoulders all day worrying about what may happen to them next. They will not be “visited with evil.” The Hebrew words mean “to fall upon, to attack, with adversity, affliction, calamity, disaster, distress.” That’s quite a promise. Does it mean believers won’t have trouble in this world? No, we will have trouble, but trouble will not devastate those who FEAR the Lord. Even in the middle of great trouble, the Lord is kind to His people and gives them sweet sleep.
“My son, let them not depart from your eyes—Keep sound wisdom and discretion; So they will be life to your soul And grace to your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:21-26
The FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and God says wisdom and discretion will be “life to your soul and grace to your neck.” People who FEAR God will walk safely in their way, their foot will not stumble, they will not be afraid when they lie down, their sleep will be sweet, they will not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes. Why is that? The Lord is our confidence; He keeps our foot from being caught. What a joy it is to be a child of God, to FEAR Him, and know the great peace that comes with that FEAR.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”