The Bible urges us to fear God, not man. It says: “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) This fear is, not a morbid dread, but a healthy concern over displeasing our Life-Giver. It is a term that is closely related to love. Why, though, should we fear God and not man? Let us consider five reasons.
1 Jehovah is the Supreme One. Jehovah is far more powerful than any human. By fearing God, we take a stand on the side of the Almighty, to whom “the nations are as a drop from a bucket.” (Isaiah 40:15) Because God is almighty, he has the power to defeat “any weapon whatever that will be formed against” those who are loyal to him. (Isaiah 54:17) And since he will determine who is worthy to receive everlasting life, we are wise to let nothing stop us from learning about him and doing his will.—Revelation 14:6, 7.
2 God will help and protect us. “Trembling at men is what lays a snare, but he that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected,” says the Bible at Proverbs 29:25. The fear of man is a snare because it can cause us to shrink back from professing faith in God. God assures us of his saving power: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.”—Isaiah 41:10.
3 God loves those who draw close to him. The apostle Paul wrote these touching words: “I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39) If we learn to trust in and obey God, we can enjoy the unbreakable love of the
Universal Sovereign. What a privilege!
4 We appreciate all that God has done for us. Jehovah is our Creator, the one who has made life possible. In addition, he has provided not just the necessities of life but also the things that make life enjoyable and interesting. Indeed, he is the Source of every good gift. (James 1:17) David, a faithful man who appreciated God’s loving-kindness, wrote: “Many things you yourself have done, O Jehovah my God, even your wonderful works and your thoughts toward us . . . They have become more numerous than I can recount.”—Psalm 40:5.
5 Some who oppose us may change. You can help those who oppose you by not compromising but holding fast to your fear of God and love for him. Consider Jesus’ relatives. At first, they did not put faith in him, but they said: “He has gone out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21; John 7:5) Later, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, many of them became believers. Jesus’ half brothers James and Jude even shared in the writing of the Scriptures. There was also the fanatic persecutor Saul, who became the apostle Paul. Some who now cause us trouble may come to see that we have the truth from the Bible because of our courageous stand.—1 Timothy 1:13.