Isaiah 11:2 (CEB)

The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him,
    a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    a spirit of planning and strength,
    a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.


There’s something about the word “fear.” Just reading it can make you feel uneasy. Lately it feels like we are constantly fearful as we face an uncertain future. Fear can paralyze us or move us to action. So when we read Scripture that contains the words “fear of the Lord,” it can make us feel confused. How can we say God is love and then fear God? But when we investigate further we see that there is much more involved than just fear.

The Hebrew word used here, yirah, can be translated as fear, reverence, or awe of God’s power and glory. Think of Moses’ encounter as God passed by him, or the three disciples at Jesus’ transfiguration. These divine encounters left them all awestruck and shaking after experiencing the presence of the Holy Creator God.

In nature or during worship, we can also experience deep love and a reverence for God, that humbles us, and this humility is the beginning of wisdom. We’re awestruck by the redeeming love God has for us and by the mercy God has poured out upon us. We’re awestruck knowing Jesus willingly died for us to free us from our sins. And we’re awestruck that God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, transforming us, as our guide and our Comforter.

by Jeneene Reduker

For Pondering & Prayer

This verse also foretells the divine characteristics given to the Messiah, Jesus, when he received the Holy Spirit. God poured out God’s own Spirit on Jesus, giving him the divine gifts of the wisdom and the understanding of God, to do God’s will. The Spirit enabled Jesus with power and guidance, to achieve God’s will. And God’s Spirit gave Jesus the love-mind, heart and soul- to be able to submit his will to God’s will, so that he could love God and love others, for the salvation of the world. Jesus is our example of what it means to love and serve God and to live humbly in the “fear of the Lord.”

Have you had an encounter with God that left you awestruck by God’s creative power or amazing grace?  How have you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life?

Prayer: Holy Creator God, we love and worship you and give you thanks for the gift and transforming power of your Spirit in our lives. We are awestruck by your love and mercy for us. Help us to humbly follow Jesus and serve you. Amen.