In the Old Testament the phrase “fear of the Lord” is NOT attached to the hebrew word for “awe” (יגורו), meaning “dwell together”.
The two words the Bible uses in the phrase “fear of the Lord” is 1.) the Hebrew word for fear (יראת), and 2.) the greek word for fear (φόβos). Both of these words mean “fear, terror, terrifying”.
When the Lord gives us a fear of the Lord…
…it comes with a real, holy dread and apprehension that “undoes” our casual, laid-back spirit;
…it challenges all our paradigms;
…it creates real crisis in our lives;
…it shakes our foundations;
…it causes us to examine all our ways;
…it cross-examines all our pet theological beliefs;
In a season of the fear of the Lord, day after day your spirit is recast into (Matthew 5:3) “poverty”; the alarm and trembling is real; and because the face to Face encounter is nakedly substantial – the hunger for more is like daily having your spirit set on “auto-pilot into an incinerator”. (Hebrews 12:29)
The “fear of the Lord” is Abraham with Isaac laying on the altar (Genesis 22).
It’s barefoot Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3), and then wedging himself in a rock in (Exodus 33:22).
It’s Joshua after asking his binary question of the commander of the Lord’s army (Joshua 5:15); and the one who couldn’t bring himself to leave the tent (Exodus 33:11).
It’s Joshua again, standing outside of Achan’s tent (Joshua 7).
It’s David in (Psalm 27:4) and then in the presence of Nathan (2 Samuel 12).
It’s John (Mark 1:7) before the One Whose sandals he wouldn’t dare to untie.
It’s Peter (Luke 5:8) before the holy Messiah.
It’s Peter, James and John on the Mount of transfiguration (Mark 9:7).
It’s Herod’s guards in the garden (John 18:6), and then the Roman guards at the tomb (Matthew 28:4).
It’s the Roman centurion at the cross under the storming sky and the shaking earth (Mark 15:39).
It’s John on his face (Revelation 1:17) before the One Who held seven stars in His right hand.
I am praying for me, our community and our American, evangelical family to engage a fear of the Lord that we struggle to describe, and have no strength to get up from.
JSB • July 8, 2022