“The Fear of the Lord”(Understanding what A.W. Tozer called, “Astonished Reverence”) 


As Christians, when we think of what the “fear of the Lord” is, what comes to your mind? Is the “fear of the Lord” something that only super-saints attain? Is it a mystical thing and something that reason cannot grasp? Is it a super-spiritual state that only monks and mystics attain? Can it be a super-meditative state of some sort? Or, can it be a state of ecstasy or an “out of body experience”? Or, is it much worse, dread or being afraid?

One pastor describes the “fear of the Lord” by comparing it with the way we respond to the awesomeness of the ocean/sea. We respond to the ocean in two very diverse ways when we come to think of it: On the one hand, the ocean is enchanting, beautiful, and mesmerizing. It evokes in us a breath-taking awe! Wonderful sounds of the waves as they smash or hit the rocks on the shore sink us into a trance of unspeakable serenity. The colorful corals and fish that we see either by direct scuba diving or by pictures never cease to cause in us wonderful feelings; on the other hand, the ocean can cause in us feelings of fear, dread, intimidation and threat. Just imagine for a moment being alone in the middle of the Atlantic with no one around and a vastness of incalculable miles between you and help or land.

Between these two extremes, the sight and presence of the ocean, allows for a divided evocation of emotions. In other words, the ocean or sea can cause in us a great deal of awe or dread; beauty or fear; aesthetics or sheer fright! In like manner, the “fear of the Lord” caused by God’s Holiness, evokes similar arrests and draws in us divided affections. God’s sheer and pure Holiness will cause in us this divided emotions. It is because His holiness is inimitable. Do you fear Him this way? When in His presence, does His holiness bring such an arrest?

Pastor Jim Cater