Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.Proverbs 2:5
Take a child for example. He goes to the playground with some friends and along the way they met a ferocious fox staring at them from nearby bushes. Naturally, fear itself kicks into the instincts of the child, telling him to stay away and do not go near the animal. Without fear, the child would have not known the difference between what’s safe and dangerous.
Fear is defined as an unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger. Fear is the state or condition marked by this feeling of apprehension. Everyone is born with the natural instincts of fear. We don’t have to be taught how to fear. Fear is what God put in each of us to protect us from harm. Fear keeps us safe from danger.
Fear is also traditionally used as a tool for mind control. How fear is abused in politics for instance; by demagogues to intimidate subordinates or enemies, or shepherding the crowd by the virtues of manipulating anxiety in others. Fear is a very strong weapon that can blur human logic and change their behavior.
In the era of new social norms, people in every community today are overtly fearful of viral infection and the deadly consequences it brings. Fear overwhelmed everyone from all walks of life to the extent that it became disruptive to good living and healthy lifestyles. So overwhelming that churches lately have began encouraging believers not to fear and trust God. Trust God we must, but did the Scripture actually taught us not to fear?
In Deuteronomy 31:8, “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; DO NOT FEAR nor be dismayed.” This verse is often misquoted at the pulpit to instill courage and to defeat fear in these trying times. And so preachers have new found reasons to preach against fear.
But fear in the Bible is not the same as total trepidation. To be in the state of the latter, is what one must avoid. Total trepidation shuts down a person completely, which of course is not a good thing. Pastors today are in fact preaching against falling into the state of total trepidation and not against natural, instinctive fear. The mistake label of calling total trepidation as biblical fear is what put preachers on course to contradicting the Bible with their teachings. In fact, the Bible clearly taught us to fear God and to always fear Him.
In Proverbs 1:7, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. This verse specifically puts those unaware of the importance of fearing God, as fools despising wise instructions. Fearing God brings us to a new level of wisdom, knowledge and courage. And in life, wise or knowledgeable people who fear God are not people under total trepidation at all.
God made natural instinctive fear a part of us from birth to protect us and to keep us at bay from things that could potentially cause harm to us. God told us to fear Him and not do things that breaks His commandments (Hebrews 10:26-28) or things that causes Him grieve (Isaiah 63:10). God use fear to prevent us from crossing the sacred line, to stop us from becoming people fitting only to be consumed by His punishment and wrath.
Automatically, we being the survival thing that functions, and the reason for us to survive, is to have some form of safety net. Otherwise, we’ll go around walking on highways and not knowing we’re in imminent danger of being knock over by on-coming cars. Fear is a built-in programming language coded into us by God.
Ultimately, divine fear has a revered purpose, shaping us in godly righteousness and holiness. Divine fear instilled in us, halts us from getting involved in things that attracts the wages of sin; death. Divine fear put to correct use, prevents us from becoming separated from God. When we fear God, we learn to trust Him and we submit to Him in obedience.