• William T. Howe Ph.D.

July 15, 2021

Daily Reading: Proverbs 7-9

Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Here it is. The clearest definition of the phrase “the fear of the Lord” in the entire Bible. God’s Word says The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. It’s just that simple. What does it mean? It means that if any person desires to know if they fear the Lord, they should take inventory of what they hate.

To this preacher the word hate is a four-letter word that would rather not be used, but in this context, it must. For the fear of the Lord is vitally important. So important that the Lord defines it clearly with two of the most awful of words, hate evil. The flip side of this fear of the Lord coin could say, the fear of the Lord is to love good. But that is not nearly striking enough to shake us to our core. Loving good is something every person can embrace; hating evil…that is something that few can even understand. But those who do, and embrace it, do so because of their reverential fear of the Lord God.

The fear of the Lord is so important that in the book of Psalms it is only used three times; each with a powerful connection. In Psalm 19:9 we are told The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever. In Psalm 34:11 we learn that it is to be taught: Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Then, in Psalm 111:10 an axiom is given: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… No wonder the enemy of all that is Holy fights so urgently of the very teaching of the fear of the Lord.

Over 35 years ago I heard a preacher say, “This is a New Testament Church, we do not teach, nor do we believe in such a thing as the fear of the Lord.” Upon returning home after hearing this, the phrase was studied out. In Acts 9:31 this can be read: Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. This is the only time the phrase is used in the New Testament. However, it gives the five identifying characteristics of New Testament churches: rest, edified, walking, comfort, multiplied. The characteristics of walking and comfort are specifically tied to their aim: the fear of the Lord and the Holy Ghost.

Enough said. Boil it down to this, the fear of the Lord is as important today as it ever was. It is clearly, simply, basically, and unmistakably recognized as the action of hating evil in one’s own life. After all, a person is only responsible for themselves.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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