Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
As often happens, when I begin writing this Study, a verse or song suddenly flashes into my brain about the chosen topic. Today I am blessed to report it is a Christian anthem, “Our God is an Awesome God” — usually sung with great passion at large gatherings (pre-COVID) such as this performance by Michael W. Smith.
By design, the lyrics are simple and repetitive until the message is drilled into your mind, heart, and soul:
“Our God is an awesome God He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power, and love our God is an awesome God.”
While trying to decipher why this song “flashed” for today’s topic — “Fear of God and ‘Fear Not’ ” — I realized the answer is in the lyrics.
Our God is to be feared because he reigns over us with “wisdom, power, and love.” Paradoxically, because He reigns over us with wisdom, power, and love — is why we must “fear not” — and why He is “awesome.”
Let’s dive deeper into the verses that explain both sides of God’s “fear equation.”
We start with the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), explaining the reasons why you should fear God:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever (Psalm 111:10).
The verses are clear that you should fear God IF you lack the “wisdom” to believe in Him, praise Him, and obey His laws. However, there is good news IF you fear Him:
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27).
The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble (Proverbs 19:23).
Paramount to fearing God is a deep, sincere belief that there is a power greater than yourself who reigns over you, commanding respect, obedience, and reverence. This “awesome” eternal power is beyond human comprehension or control — no matter how impressive your title or net worth. Fear of God points to my favorite modern “Proverb”: How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.
But fear of God also means that He is always with you in the best and worst of times since “He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power, and love.” Again the Hebrew Bible magnificently explains this concept:
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
And because of that message from God, we can say in confidence:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
If you learn one lesson from today’s study, here it is: God does not want us to be fearful. He wants us to trust in Him with the knowledge that God is love. New Testament verses impart the following truths:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us (1-John 4:18-19).
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Having a “sound mind” to dispel a “spirit of fear” takes us back to where we began, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and “knowledge.” Now, we can better understand a question from Scripture:
In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:11).
Answer by singing along with another version of “Our God Is an Awesome God!” The video, which has 25 million views, was posted by a 10-year-old who misspelled “heaven” but credit her with heavenly knowledge and wisdom.
Amen! And thanks for reading.
Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.