A well-known Prophet recently said that when he was just five year old, God said He had His hand on the young boy’s life. The Prophet went on to say that this instilled a fear in him that God was always watching. As a result, the Prophet said he abstained from many of the sins that his siblings got caught up in.
Some would read this as a good thing since the boy was spared the harmful affects of sin. Others however, consider this spiritual oppression and abuse. In their minds, a loving God would never make someone fear Him.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” In Proverbs 8:13, Solomon defines the fear of The Lord as “…hatred of evil.” He goes on in Ecclesiastes 12:13 that fearing The Lord and keeping His commandments is the “whole duty of man.” Even Jesus weighed in on the subject when He said, “…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28)
Scripture abounds that a healthy fear of God is a good thing. It keeps us from crossing boundaries we should not cross and puts eternity into perspective.
In the tragic wake of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, people began to consider faith in a way previously unimaginable. Although the great Azusa Street revival was already underway in Los Angeles, many reporters and average citizens scoffed and mocked at the meetings. After the earthquake – and two subsequent aftershocks felt in LA – many hearts began to change. The following is the report of Frank Bartleman a minister who had prayed and worked for years to see revival come to his city:
“First in a trickle, but then in a flood, men began to fear God and this paved the way for revival. The newspapers ridiculed and abused the meetings, but they gave us free advertising. What people don’t realize is that outside persecution never hurt the work, instead it brings crowds. If you ask me, the devil overdid himself.”
By the time all was said and done, the Azusa Street revival had phenomenal impact. It is now credited with over six-hundred million believers around the world. Much of it began with a very healthy fear of the Lord.