When the Bible talks about fearing God, it usually means ‘profound respect’ but it can also mean to be afraid, even terrified. This command to fear God will relate to the attitudes and lifestyle of those who hear it. If I were blatantly sinning, I should be afraid of God because He hates sin. If I were humbly repentant, I should respect God because He is gracious to forgive sin.
“Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.” (Psalm 25:12)
In context, this verse from Psalm 25 is talking about respect and trust. Only those with that kind of fear will actively listen to God’s instructions and make godly choices.
Chambers talks about living in the presence of God, not so much in the awareness of it, but in the habit of considering everything in relation to God because of His continual presence.
When my husband was very ill, people said to me, “This must have been scary for you.” I said no, because God blessed me with the sense of His presence and when I knew He was right here with me, nothing bothered me. As Chambers says, nothing else can get in, no cares, no tribulation, no anxieties.
Chambers also says worry is a terrible sin, and I believe that. How can I worry when I know that God is in control of everything and is walking alongside me?
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
Another way to think of the fear of God is that godly fear knows who He is and His power, but it does not drive me away from Him. Instead, this Almighty God is my hiding place. I can draw near for protection, comfort, safety, and instruction.
A fortress might look something like the Acropolis or other military structures, but these man-made do not last forever. They crumble and no longer protect anything, but God does not fade. He is always here with me, teaching me in the way I should live. He combines the same concepts in the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20)
Fear God, listen to what He says and do it, then teach others what He has taught me — for He is always here, always my fortress, always my hiding place!