An Unlikely Key to Rich Treasure

Every so often, it happens. I’m caught pleasantly by surprise at how the Holy Spirit uses an obscure passage somewhere in the books of the law (the first five books of the Bible) to make a certain truth fresh to my heart.

Here’s this morning’s culprit:

The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see his great fire anymore, or we will die.”

The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in their mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.

-Deuteronomy 18:14-18

I can’t speak for individuals, but it seems that the young nation of Israel had something that the western Church as a whole severely lacks: the fear of the Lord.

0121-an-unlikely-key-to-rich-treasure

Often, we revel in the adopted-daughter aspect of our relationship with Him (Ephesians 1:5). We delight that Jesus called His disciples “friends” (John 15:15). We capitalize on the fact that we are loved by God (Romans 8:35-39).


NOTE: I’m not saying any of the above are bad. On the contrary, I advocate them. I’m just concerned that they may stem from an absence of fear in the sovereign Lord of the universe. And while His love is evident throughout the Bible – Old Testament and New – it seems to be only one aspect of His character that we ought to be mindful of.


And while we would probably quite like to hear the audible voice of our God, what did the Israelites say?

“Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see his great fire anymore, or we will die.”

And how did God respond?

“What they say is good.”

The fear of the LORD is…

As part of writing this post, I searched BibleGateway.com for the phrase, “the fear of the Lord is.” This is what it spat back at me:

Psalm 19:9 says, The fear of the LORD is pure […]

Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10 say, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom […] 

Proverbs 1:7 says, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge […]

Proverbs 14:27 says, The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life […]

Isaiah 33:6 says, […] the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure [the treasure of a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge].

And what does our passage in Deuteronomy say (indirectly)?

The fear of the LORD is good.

Shall we discuss?

There are so many nuances and facets to the question of the fear of God. I don’t want to presume for one second that these few hundred words are at all comprehensive. That’s all the more reason to ponder the matter in our hearts, and perhaps to share with each other that iron might sharpen iron.

  • Is the fear of the Lord unique to the Old Testament?
  • How does the fear of the Lord fit together with love in His design?
  • Discuss 1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear
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9 thoughts on “An Unlikely Key to Rich Treasure

  1. “Is the fear of the Lord unique to the Old Testament?”
    I don’t think so… but I can’t think of any specific verses in the New Testament that tell us to fear the Lord.
    “How does the fear of the Lord fit together with love in His design?”
    He will love us if we fear Him? I’m not sure. But I do know that we do need to fear the Lord; we need to serve and honor Him, and I think fear, at least some of it, is necessary for those traits.
    “Discuss 1 John 4:18 – ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love drives out fear:…'”
    I don’t think this verse is talking about the fear of the Lord; I think it is talking about the fear of man. At least that’s my take on it; it may or may not be right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely get the impression that the New Testament speaks *less* of fear. But the one passage I can think of in the New Testament that speaks of fearing God is when Jesus tells not to fear the one who can harm the body, but rather the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Do you think Jesus is talking there about the same fear of the Lord as in the Old Testament?

      I hesitate a bit… do you think that it would be putting a condition on God’s love to say that He will love us /if/ we fear Him? That’s what I’m thinking… but maybe there is some truth to it after all. Do you ever use BibleGateway? I just used it to search the Bible for verses with the words ‘love’ and ‘fear.’ Psalm 147:11 says that the LORD delights in those who fear him and Psalm 103:11 says that so great is His love for the one who fears Him. And those are just two of multiple verses that have the same idea. I wonder if He loves those who fear Him in a different sort of way. Do you think His love has layers?

      About 1 John 4:18, I think you’re right! So if we’re wrong, that makes two of us.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I think that Jesus is probably talking about the same fear of the Lord as in the Old Testament. At least, that would make sense to me.
        Yes, I think that it probably would be putting a condition on God’s love to say that He will love us if we fear Him. After all, He loves us all no matter what. But yes, I’m not sure about it all; it’s kind of confusing… maybe His love does have layers?? But… IDK. And no, I haven’t even heard of BibleGateway until you mentioned it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Tough questions indeed – just as much for me as for anyone else because sometimes I think I know things, and then I realize how little I really do. Thanks for commenting, Sarah. 🙂

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  2. Fear in the New Testament is more about reverence, for God came to us in the flesh. What is expected of us is to love God back, obey and honor Him in all our ways. Unlike in the old testament thunderous cloud, fearful sight and voice we could not see. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU for sharing, too, Joansanusi. 🙂 Yes, I see how there is a transition from the Old Testament with regards to fear. God showed His grace in that I read 2 Corinthians 3 shortly after publishing this post which talks of the metaphorical veil that is taken away in Christ and that we who are in Christ are “very bold.”

      Even so, John fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead when He saw a vision of the glorified Christ at the beginning of Revelation. For what it’s worth, I think you’re right about the fear of God being about reverence for Him. Again, thanks. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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