“Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” Deuteronomy 5:29
The fear of the Lord is better described than defined, and there may be no better place to begin than in Deuteronomy 5.
This chapter begins with Moses giving the Ten Commandments to the people of God. The whole event was terrifying! Try to imagine it—darkness, the blast of trumpets, the sound of a voice (God’s) so amplified that you could hardly bear to hear it. But overwhelming all of that was a massive blaze of fire that descended on the mountain.
The fear of the Lord had been pressed in on Moses and the people of God that day, and now he describes this scene because he wants those who had not been there to see and feel the holy fire of the presence of God.
When the fire of God came down on Sinai, God’s people caught a glimpse of the Day of Judgment. The Judge of all the earth came down, and they saw his holy fire. They were in awe, and they were able to say, “Look at who saved us, and look at what we have been saved from.”
But God knew how quickly this impression would wear off, so he says, “Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments” (5:29). That was the Word of God to these people, and it is his Word to us today.
Have you felt the fear of the Lord and the weight of what he has saved you from?