There are hundreds of forms of fear. Some healthy others unhealthy. The Bible teaches that a healthy fear of God produces humility. It’s the fear of the consequences of turning away from God’s protection by breaking His moral law that brings delight. There’s nothing unusual about having such fear and being happy. Paul was sorrowful yet always rejoicing. People are complex. People who are awake are terrified of breaking the moral law. As the founder of A.A. Bill Wilson states:
For all its usual destructiveness, we have found that fear can be the starting point for better things. Fear can be a stepping stone to prudence and to a decent respect for others. It can point the path to justice, as well as to hate. And the more we have of respect and justice, the more we shall begin to find the love which can suffer much, and yet be freely given. So fear need not always be destructive, because the lessons of its consequences can lead us to positive values.
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; Tremble before Him, all the earth. ~~ Psalms 96:9
As the Irish Catholic priest, poet, and mystic (John O’Donohue) describes it in “Beauty”
While beauty usually quickens our senses, awakens our delight and invites wonder, there are occasions when the force of beauty is disturbing and even frightening. Beauty can arrive in such a clear and absolute sweep that it throws the heart sideways. It takes over completely and we are overwhelmed, unsure what to do or how to be in the presence of this radiance. The authority of such beauty unnerves us for awhile. This is of course an exceptional experience of beauty, yet it befalls everyone at some time. It could be the beauty of nature, music, painting, poetry or the unseen beauty of kindness, compassion, love or revelation. For a while we are caught up in the majestic otherness of beauty. It is an experience in which the sheer eternal force of the soul strains the mortal frame; the natural gravity of the body no longer grounds one. This causes unease and yet the unease is still somehow delightful. - John O’Donohue
The fear of God is an important theme in the Bible, yet many Christians today overlook it or treat it carelessly. Fearing God is the soul of godliness, and those who claim to love God should desire to understand what it means to fear Him. The Forgotten Fear revisits this important topic. Author Al Martin first establishes the theme of the fear of God in both the Old and New Testaments, and then he defines what fearing God means. Finally, he addresses the practical implications of fearing God, showing its expression in the lives of Abraham and Joseph and providing instruction for believers today to maintain their fear of God and even increase it.
Table of Contents:
- Predominance of the Fear of God in Biblical Thought
- Definition of the Fear of God
- Ingredients of the Fear of God
- Source of the Fear of God
- Relationship of the Fear of God to Our Conduct
- How to Maintain and Increase the Fear of God
- A Final Word to the Reader