Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Without doubt, this has to be one of the most misunderstood verses in the bible. People read this and believe that God wants all of us cowering in terror lest He strike us dead or afflict us with some horrible fate. Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not want us living in terror of Him. He does want us to be free of all fears. Throughout the bible, whenever God or one of His messengers has a direct encounter with someone, the first thing done is to tell the person that they have no need to be afraid. God tells people often, " fear not ," " be not afraid ," or " have no fear ." So it looks obvious that being afraid is something that God wants us to stop. Let us have a look at why.
Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
First, we need to remember something that God does want us to do, and that is to live by faith in Him, And that He will never be pleased with us or anything we do that is not based on our relying on Him and adhering to His will. However, what is faith? Study the bible, and look at the Amplified translation and a good concordance. Examine the words in the King James that are translated 'faith', 'believe', and 'hope'. Faith is much more than simply believing in something. It is an earnest intense expectation. When people talk about faith in God, they often compare it to having faith that a chair will support you if you sit in it. Using that comparison here, if I sit in a chair, the only reason that I do so is that I have an intense earnest expectation, that it will hold my weight. I am certain of it or I would not sit. This is the kind of faith that God wants us to have in him and his ability to provide for us, heal us, and forgive us.
Fear is the exact opposite of faith. Just as faith is an intense earnest expectation of something desirable, fear is an intense earnest expectation of something that we do not want. When as a child you were afraid of the bully down the street, it was because you had the expectation that he or she would hurt you. If you did not have that intense expectation that this person would hurt you, then you would not have been afraid of them.
We need to learn not to be afraid of God. To do this, we need to learn what God wants for us, so that we can know what to expect of Him. Fortunately, He has told us in the bible everything we need to know.
3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
God does not put sickness and disease on us for any reason. Not to punish us, and especially not to teach us something, If that reasoning were true, then we would be well advised to close the hospitals and stop doctors from doing anything to fight disease. After all, if sickness is to make us wiser and smarter, then we should all be sick. However, God wishes above all things that we prosper and be in health, even as our souls prosper.
2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
God made hell and the lake of fire for the devil, not us.
Matthew 25:41, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
It was prepared for the devil and his angels, not for man. The only people that will go there are those who do not follow God instead of the devil.
Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
He does not want us to be alone, because He has promised to always be with us. He will never forsake us, even if we choose to forsake Him.
So God does not want us to be afraid of Him. Why then, you ask, does the King James and most other translations say that one should ' fear God '? Again, get out a good concordance and examine the words that were translated 'fear'. Always, where the translators rendered ' fear God ', would be much better expressed as 'reverence and respect God'. God does not want anyone cowering in terror of Him, but He does want us to treat Him with the reverence and respect that He is due.