February 6, 2024

76: The Fear of the Lord Makes us Happy

To fear God is not to be afraid of God. If you are a true believer, who has put their faith in Christ alone for salvation then Christ has saved you forever from being afraid of God. Instead of being afraid of God, the fear of the Lord is holy desire to know this magnificent, awesome beyond our wildest dreams God. The fear of the Lord is putting your trust, your life into His loving hands, so that He can care for you as a father cares for his children.


I’ve been reading a book entitled, Rejoice and Tremble (The surprising Good News of the fear of the Lord), by Michael Reeves. To understand more fully the fear of the Lord than I have described so far I encourage you to read the book. For now I am going to read an excerpt from the book that encourages us to find happiness in the fear of the Lord.


“The knowledge of God that the fear of the Lord brings is not sterile knowledge…

Those who fear God come to know him in such a way that they actually become holy, faithful, loving, and merciful like him…


For like a fire in the heart the fear of the Lord has a purifying effect…

By the fear of the Lord, one turns away from evil That’s proverbs sixteen six. It consumes sinful desires and fuels holy ones. And the word desire there is key. For the fear of the Lord does not keep believers from sin in the sense that it makes us merely alter our behavior for fear of punishment. Rather, it brings us to adore God and so loath sin and long to be truly and thoroughly like him.


Becoming like God must mean becoming happy. God after all is the blessed or happy God First Timothy One Eleven. The spirit we are given is the spirit of the fear of the Lord. Who causes us to share Christ’s delight in the fear of the Lord. To fear God is to enter that blessed divine life.


You naturally expect that the fear of God would make you morose and stuffy, but quite the opposite. Unlike our sinful fears which make us twitchy and gloomy the fear of God has a profoundly uplifting effect. It makes us happy. How can it not when it brings us to know this God? Notice for example how the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit are paired in the early church’s experience…


“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” That’s from Acts nine thirty one. 


For to fear God is to know the Spirit’s consolation, and Christ’s own happiness and satisfaction 

Along with making us happy, the fear of the Lord makes believers large hearted like God. Think of the lovely little story of the prophet Obadiah in the days of Elijah…

This is from first kings eighteen two through four. “Now the famine was severe in Samaria, an Ahab called Obediah, who was over the household. Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. And when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obediah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.”


Far from making Obadiah self involved and frosty, the fear of God made him profoundly generous and compassionate to those hunted prophets in need. For the fear of the Lord is the precise opposite of hardheartedness. Indeed Proverbs twenty eight fourteen deliberately contrasts the two. 

“Blessed is the one who fears the lord always. But whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

Rejoice and Tremble, pp 137-139


Fearing the Lord actually brings us happiness. For the fear of the Lord teaches us all about the gospel, the good news that God has not left us to ourselves as orphans but has reached down and redeemed us, bringing us into His family. And we all know it’s the gospel that changes everything!