1. At times shachah is also translated REVERENCE (e.g. 2 Samuel 9:6; Esther 3:2,5)
  2. More often, however, it is yare (3372), which, along with the derivative yir’ah (3374), simply means “to fear, be afraid, or stand in awe.”


  1. “The fear of the Lord,” Solomon wrote, “is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7) and “the beginning of wisdom” (9:10).  In other words, true knowledge begins with a fear of God.
  2. If we are to know anything, we must begin with the presupposition of God. For example:
  • How can an intelligent person believe (and then brag about believing it) that the universe sprang from nothing and then evolved?
  • How can truly brilliant people say something so absurd and irrational?
  • Answer:  Because they do not start with God.  Without Him, we can know nothing.

KEY:  Such knowledge begins with the fear of God.

While this has been softened by many to mean simply reverence, which part of it the “primary meaning” is fear and terror.  This principle, in fact, is found many times in Scripture, as in Exodus 2:25:  “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”  (cf. Genesis 22:12; Exodus 3:6; 14:31; 20:20; Ezekiel 30:13)  Likewise in the New Testament, lost man is spoken of as having “no fear of God before [his eyes].”  (Romans 3:18)

The Greatest Evidence:

The greatest evidence, however, is that every time we see someone in Scripture get a glimpse of God, even a believer, they are terrified:  (Isaiah 6:5) Daniel (Dan. 10:8,9; 8:17), Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:28; 3:23; 9:8; 43:3; 44:4), Samson’s father Manoah (Judg. 13:22), and Job (Job 42:5,6).

The frivolous and nonchalant attitude toward God today.

In sad contrast to the Bible, there is among many Christians today a frivolous and nonchalant attitude toward God – He is thought of as our buddy and pal.  Many church services are casual and man-centered, where God is given lip service but in reality God is simply a spectator.

What has been lost:

  1. We have lost the Truth of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness.
  2. We have lost what people of Scripture knew, namely, that when confronted with the blazing glory of God, they were terrified in their unworthiness.

KEY;  We should “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  Why?  For our God is a consuming fire.”  (Hebrews 12:28,29)

Biblical Observation:

Let us, therefore, be fearful of disobeying God; fearful of disobeying His Word.

Scripture for Study:

To what is the fear of God tied to in Deuteronomy 6:2?



Adapted from “A Hebrew Word for the Day”

Pastor Tom