The title pretty much states the question.
Our “fear” of God should be that of homage. It’s more than what’s due to a king or other “office.” He created all things, and could destroy in an instant. We think we have all kinds of capacities. But none approach what He has. We could be scared of Him, but that’s not what he wants. He wants our love and respect, but only if freely given. It is far more powerful if freely given.
In the case of God "fear"is more like awe or respect, rather than being scared.
Respect is the way the nuns taught us in school to understand this.
Respect for the fact that everything is only because of Him.
I think we should fear offending God… fear hurting Him.
There’s another type of fear, like awe, but I think we should also love and trust God, not be fearful if we are with Him. But I think we should fear hurting Him, out of love.
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The Fear of God – The Beginning of Understanding
Throughout the Jewish scriptures we learn that “the fear of God is the beginning of understanding… wisdom… knowledge.”
Indeed, the fear of God is a primary theme throughout the entire Old Testament:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding (Psalm 111:10).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).
But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me (Job 23:13-16).
“Should you not fear me?" declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” (Jeremiah 5:22).
Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling (Psalm 2:11).
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever (Psalm 19:9).
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him (Psalm 33:8).
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD (Psalm 34:11).
Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Psalm 86:11).
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
The Fear of God – The Real Meaning
In these “Fear of God” scriptures, the word “fear” is derived from Hebrew words such as
yir’ah (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Psalm 2:11; 19:9; 34:11),
yare’ (Psalm 33:8; 86:11; Jeremiah 5:22; Ecclesiastes 12:13)
and pachad (Job 23:15), which actually mean “fear,” “terror,” or “dread.”
Although many Christian teachers will downplay the “fear of God” and use replacement words such* as “respect,” “reverence,” or “honor,” *
the Hebrew language is pretty clear.
In addition, there are other Hebrew words that portray softer meanings, such as kabad (Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother…” Proverbs 3:9 – “Honor the LORD with your wealth…”)
The Fear of God – The Rest of the Story
The good news is that the fear of God is only the beginning of understanding. We’ve got to read the rest of the story!
In fact, the great news is that the Love of God reflected through Jesus Christ in the New Testament scriptures has the power to cast out this fear and set us free!
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
When we were kids and were tempted to get into mischief, I remember saying, Are you kidding? My dad would kill me!!! Now granted, he wouldn’t have killed me, but there was a healthy respect that what ever it was, I wasn’t going to have dad have to deal with my transgression. I didn’t want to cause him the hurt or disappointment because he meant the world to me. I wanted to make him happy and proud. That kind of fear can be applied to God as well.
If a person feels that for an earthly parent or authority figure, how much more should we feel that way about our Heavenly Father!