What does it mean to fear the LORD? According to Scripture, to fear the LORD is to greatly delight in His commandments. God's Word says, "Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!" (Psalms 112:1 ESV). So, when you see the phrase, "fear the LORD" in the Bible, you can substitute it with the phrase, "delight in His commandments." Delighting in His commandments is the beginning of wisdom: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight" (Proverbs 9:10 ESV).
The person who fears the LORD will have a hunger for God's Word and search it, as a hidden treasure, for wisdom and instruction. They will obey God's Word. According to Jesus, we reveal our love for Him by obeying His commandments. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 ESV).
The main problem in today's society is not a lack of the Word (God's commandments). The problem is that there is a famine of hearing the Word. Amos prophesied, "'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord GOD, 'when I will send a famine on the land-- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD'" (Amos 8:11 ESV).
I believe that we are living in the days that Amos was prophesying about. It's a day when there is very little fear of the LORD, or delighting in His commandments. Many desire to delight in God's blessings, but not His commandments. Today, a preacher can build a huge church by just proclaiming God's blessings while totally ignoring the proclamation of the LORD's commandments. Sadly, that approach has been taken in some cases, and those churches have grown large in our day. They look successful because of their size, programs, and events, but the fruit has been unchanged people, neighborhoods, communities, and cities. Never attribute church success to church size. Instead, evaluate success on what is being preached. Is the fear of the LORD present? If it is present, lives are being changed, and cities impacted.
We live in the day where there are church buildings on almost every street in America and Bibles in nearly every home, but yet there are many people who do not fear the Lord; they are not delighting in His commandments. These people base right from wrong on what feels right, instead of fearing the LORD (delighting in His commandments). God's word declares these people foolish: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7 ESV).
I dream of a day when multitudes will not just delight in God's blessings, but also delight in His commandments. I pray, "Father, bring a revival that produces the fear of the LORD in our land. Amen!"
Beloved, continue to fear the LORD -- Delight greatly in His commandments. The blessings are eternal!
Know that you are loved,
Gregory A. Johnson