A close cousin to worry is fear. But fear is not always bad, depending on the object of the fear. For example, we are to fear God and not man, like those courageous midwives in Egypt. They had to overcome their fear of the king, which they did by fearing God.
“But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.” (Exodus 1:17)
Fearing God results in obedience and blessing. It is the prerequisite for good moral choices. In Leviticus, the people are told to fear God as opposed to doing evil. They were not simply told to “be nice” to people. They must fear God which will affect how they treat people. Consider this sampling of verses.
“You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32)
“You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 25:17)
“Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 25:36)
“Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.” (Leviticus 25:43)
When we fear God, we will have pity on the weak, we will honor the elderly, we will not misuse our authority over our children, and we will not make money by charging interest on loans to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need. Fearing God keeps us humble. We remember who we are.
But if we do not fear God, we do not restrain ourselves when it comes to unkindness, rudeness, bossiness, and asserting our power over those weaker than we are.
A God-fearing home is a home where God is honored in the big things (ten commandment level) and in the seemingly smaller things (that really aren’t smaller) like your son taking his hat off at church or during prayer before the basketball game, or everyone rising up when your elderly mother enters the room. A God-fearing home is a courteous and a courageous home whose members know when to disobey the king’s edict, and when to bear with the slow, gray-haired driver in the car ahead.
Fearing God results in “do not” and “do.” Do look out for those weaker, smaller, poorer, or older. Do disobey when the king tells you to kill the infant. Do not make fun of the unfortunate. God hates this.
Mothers, teach your children to fear God: We do not talk that way to the sales clerk. We fear the Lord. You may not talk back to your grandma like that. Fear God, young man, and take off your hat.