Fear is a pathway to joy


Ruth 2:1–4:22 
John 4:43-54 
Psalm 105:16-36 
Proverbs 14:26-27


Proverbs 14:26-27 (CSB) “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.”


In my Bible reading this morning, I came across a phrase that is used often in Scripture: “the fear of the Lord.”

Proverbs 14:26-27 (CSB) “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.”

Because so many people misunderstand that phrase, they find it utterly distasteful and maybe even abhorrent. They don’t want to serve a God that they should fear.

Yet, when we properly understand that phrase, we realize that God is calling us to satisfy our desire for joy. Yes, you understood that correctly – fear is a pathway to joy.

Let me illustrate…

This summer, my family and a group of 7 others from Westside Baptist Church will make our way to Denver where we will work alongside some church planters at Calvary Denver. When our week of service is complete, my family has plans to head to the Grand Canyon.

Back in 1997, Kim visited the Grand Canyon with a female co-worker when work sent them out to Phoenix. Neither my sons nor I have experienced it yet. For the past 20 years, Kim has periodically told me about that trip. That ‘hole in the ground’ made such an impact on her that she still gets a far-off look in her eyes when she tells me about it.

What was so special about it? The colors. The vastness. But also the fear.

You see, people typically don’t like to view the Grand Canyon from the parking lot. They like to step up to the railing. As they look over the railing, they see that they are standing on the edge of a cliff. That metal barrier is the only thing protecting them from falling hundreds of feet to their death. Their heart is racing, they are captivated by the beauty, they are afraid … and they love it! That’s part of the experience!

That’s how God wants us to enjoy Him. To come to a greater awareness of His beauty. To understand Him more fully and enjoy His presence. But, also to understand that His power is infinite, we are frail, and we are at His mercy. Basking in His love but also in His holiness and infinite power, there is fear … but we love it!

So, friend, “the fear of the Lord” should never cause us to get a bitter taste in our mouth. It is a call to enjoy our God. Why not ask Him to help you develop a little bit more “fear of the Lord” today?

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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