LEARNING TO FEAR GOD
“Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” Deuteronomy 4:10
Moses is rehearsing for the Israelites some of the experiences that occurred and the lessons learned during their wilderness wanderings. There had been many victories, but also numerous defeats. Moses was instructing his people to remember what they had seen and heard, and to diligently teach them to their children. Above all, the great leader strongly encouraged the people to cleave to the Word of God. In this context, the people of God are challenged to “learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth.” They were to learn to fear God.
Anyone who knows the Bible knows how much this attribute is called for in the Scripture. We are taught in the Word of God that there are great benefits to those who fear God, and there will be unwholesome consequences to those who do not fear the Lord. And yet, in our post-Christian and permissive culture, the fear of the Lord is looked upon as a harmful or emotionally unhealthy attribute. Because the doctrine of God has been so perverted by false teachers, and multitudes of professing believers have an unbiblical concept of the Almighty, our generation has been deceived into believing God does not require or deserve our fear. However, God has not changed. The absence of godly fear is an indication of men’s depravity. Describing the sinfulness of the human race, the Bible states, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). This is the state of the unregenerate man, and the reason the text calls us to “learn to fear me.”
We must learn to fear God. It is not natural to fear the Lord in the way the Bible says we should. Before we were saved, we did not fear God. Most of us can recall those times when we feared men more than we feared the Lord. How is it that we can learn to fear God in a healthy and biblical way? The Scripture tells us, “I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me.” Through hearing, believing, and receiving the Word of God, the fear of God is learned. As we take God’s Word seriously and we see God as He is, our hearts are instructed to respectfully fear Him.