I have a fear of long words.
I suffer from hip/po/pot/o/mon/stros/es/quiped/al/i/o/pho/bi/a (I’m kidding. I love polysyllabic words. I was an English teacher for years. I’m not making this phobia up.) But I’m grateful that I don’t suffer from pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (I’m not making that one up either). If you’re afraid of something or someone, they’ve got a phobia for it.
They have identified a phobia for the worldly fear of God: Theophobia.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. We fear lots of bad stuff like crime, auto accidents, home invasions, homicides, storms, West Nile virus, chemical weapons, mass murderers, terrorists and earthquakes, to name a few.
Many real phobias impact sufferers in devastating ways, some causing harmful medical, emotional or physical reactions. For instance, I have a fear of high places. It’s called acrophobia. I can’t even look at pictures or videos of folks walking on a ledge. The second floor of a building is too far off the ground for me.
God gives us the inate ability to respond to fear when it grip us. Otherwise we’d feel comfortable walking up to rattle snakes or lions and petting their heads.
There is a fear that is good. Not Theophobia. The fear of the Lord is good.
The fear of The Lord is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence, awe and wonder. It is the only appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer” (Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible, 1997).
There is a world of difference between being afraid of God (which many people are) and the fear of the LORD.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).
A healthy fear of God includes the fear of the consequences of disobedience. There may be times of temptation or trial when we may forget some of the better reasons for obeying God, and that is when we had better think of the consequences (Exodus 20:20).
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27
A speaker I heard at a recent men’s conference said, “We fear what we shouldn’t and we don’t fear what we should.”
Got any phobias you’re dealing with today? How about the fear of the LORD?