Timor Domini – What Fear Is

Timor Domini = Fear of the Lord in Latin


To define what fear is, a few things Proverbs says about Fear of the Lord will be examined:

Fear of the Lord is: the beginning of knowledge, knowledge of God is found through it, it is turning away from evil, it prolongs life, it is walking in uprightness, it is having strong confidence, it is a fountain of life, it is better to have little with fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble, it is instruction in wisdom, the reward is riches and honor and life, blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, and the Proverbs 31 woman fears the Lord and is to be praised.

The term “Fear of the Lord” in Hebrew it is Yirat Adonai. This does not denote a a cringing terror of God but a reverential awe at the glory of His presence as He daily condescends to be involved in our lives.

The word fear in this verse by itself is the noun yireh. Yireh is a form of devotion, a consciousness of the sacredness and mystery of receiving life itself from the Living God, and essentially draws upon gratitude to God for this great gift. The attitude of yireh is the result of yielding our daily lives to the Lord which produces wisdom. As James tells us in James 3:17, this wisdom from above is first pure, then full of peace, gentleness, mercy, good fruits, and sincerity. This order opposes the disorder and chaos James spoke about in verse 16 (Ch. 3).

We must also see that the Fear of the Lord is a constructive fear, not destructive. Matthew 10:28 says we are to “fear him who can destroy both soul and body,” thus we are to exalt, worship, and praise God in holy fear.

I studied and looked at several different definitions of fear of the Lord by theologians and others; this is my favorite: a reverential awe for His power and glory and proper respect for His wrath and anger. We understand our sin and live in awe with joy that we can be saved by Jesus, because we understand the wrath and anger that was poured out on Jesus on the cross in our place. It is finished; the debt has been paid.

I remember a few years ago there was a Christian t-shirt that read, “Jesus is My Homeboy.” The point I am making is that Jesus is not your homeboy. He is God and should be worshipped and glorified. Our lives should reflect awe for the King who came to earth to save us. If our lives are not a reflection of this, then we cheapen the grace the Lord has given us.

Fear of the Lord is a reverential awe for His power and glory and proper respect for His wrath and anger.

Just for today, meditate on this truth.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Three…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s