My dad had my respect, and yes, there were times when I truly feared him. His voice, coupled with the movement of a hand or the grabbing of his leather postal straps, sent chills throughout me. When I was about 25, it would be the last time I heard his voice in a corrective manner as I said I was going to go do something. "David," I heard him say emphatically, and trust me, at 25, I knew the tone and intensity and what it meant. That was all it took for me to turn and not follow through.
Interestingly though, Dad was my best friend. He was the best man in my wedding, and I turned to him often for his thoughts. We had sessions where we sat talking about life (of course we had a few beers as we talked). We went to baseball games. He joined our family often and we played dominoes while the kids played. He was a great guy.
So, yes, I feared my father, no other word for it, yet we became great friends. So it is with our God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (wisdom)," Solomon tells us in Proverbs 1. Solomon's father, David, wrote this in Psalm 25, "The friendship of the Lord is there for those who fear him." (14) An explanatory note in the study bible says this, "The Hebrew noun yir'ah that is translated fear (or the verb 'to fear') does not communicate itself through any single word in English." It goes further by saying this, "The fear is closely related to trust because we can truly respect and reverence God only when we believe that he is truly everything that His Word, the bible, says he is. Understanding 'fear of the Lord' as trust helps us...." (Lutheran Study Bible, ESV, Concordia Publishing, 2009, p 1001).
So, fear of the Lord establishes trust in the Lord which leads us to a well-established friendship with Christ, to whom we go because he has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Pray that we turn to Christ in all things. As the hymn states, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer."
Hope Men's Ministry
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" Joseph Scriven, 1855