Fearing God


This study was prompted by reading the account in 2 Sam 6 and thinking “Why was David so unafraid to jump and dance and have exuberant worship in God’s presence. Didn’t he know that he should fear God?

This is even more of a problem when you see what had just happened in the previous chapter. –David seemed to have every reason to be cautious but he has thrown caution to the wind and given God all his energy.

Love has cast out fear

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Luke 1:74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,

Are we still to “fear God” or is that an “outmoded” Old Covenant idea?

Ephes. 5:21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
2 Cor. 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Rev. 19:5 And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”
1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

1. Fear in the O.T.

Solution is idea of covenant allegiance

Deut. 10:12

Does Jesus fear God?

Isa 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
Isa 11:3 His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear? Return for Your servants’ sake, the tribes of Your inheritance.

2. David in 2 San 5:17 – 6:22

3. What about “Fear” in the N.T.?

The word follows basically the same usage as the O.T. There are places where it cannot possibly mean “terror”

Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects [lit fears] her husband.

I think that the best approach is to ask the question “Was anyone ever to be afraid of Jesus?” No! Not even...

Matthew 17:6-7 —transfigured: When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.”
Matthew 28:10 —resurrected: Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Rev. 1:17 —or in heaven: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,

Sometimes his miracles could make people afraid:

Matthew 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Mark 6:50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Luke 5:10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

4. Summary