Smelling the Fear of the LORD

And His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 11

Happy New Year! 2020 was a rough year, let’s expect 2021 to be better–Lord willing, it will be.

It has been a while since I have been on my blog. So many things have been going on.

My publisher released my Bible study, Jewels of Hebrews, December 1, 2020. It is available on Amazon, Walmart.com, and Barnes & Noble as a paperback or Ebook. I am so excited this labor of love is finally available to you.

Both my mom and aunt battle dementia and we moved them out of their homes. They had a hard time moving but, they’re thriving now and enjoying the places they are living. If you have been there with a parent, then you know the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved one can’t get hurt from being alone and confused.

A New Word

Like a lot of people I know, I asked the Lord for a word this year. I haven’t done that before but decided to ask and wait for His reply. I felt like He gave me the word “merciful.” I immediately asked for a different word like “grateful” :).

The word merciful slightly scared me.

Why?

Because I thought that would mean the Lord wants me to be merciful towards people who might cause bad things to happen to me or my family in the coming year. But, as I thought more on the word, I realized the mercy of the Lord when I mess up. So, I decided to “keep” my word and look at it from the Lord’s point of view.

If He can be merciful to me when I mess up–and I really do mess up at times–then I can be merciful when others do as well.

I found this verse on the Lord’s mercy:

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

Delighting in the Fear of the LORD

The Lord also has me reading the book of Isaiah. I started in December, reading each chapter a couple of times and thinking about how it relates to me and what God wants me to learn from it.

A few days ago, I read chapter eleven and the Lord impressed on me the words of the first part of Isaiah 11:3. It says,

And His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what His eyes see,
  or decide disputes by what His ears hear
.

Isaiah 11:3

The verses before this are referring to the Messiah as a shoot from the stump of Jesse.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

As I read this I stopped and reread, “…His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” This verse is speaking of the Messiah’s delight, but I wanted that to be my prayer for the year. I want my delight to be in the fear of the Lord. So, I asked the Lord to help me make that my motivation and the place of my strength.

I did a little research to find out exactly what I was praying for.

Delight

The first word search I did was on “delight.” Hebrew often has meanings that we just can’t fully express in English. They have root words, too. Although not exactly like ours.

Hebrew root words use three consonants separated by a period – like B.C.D. When you insert the vowels you make different words. But because these words come from the same root it connects their meanings.

For instance, both “amen” and “faithful” have the same root word (Reading right to left):

א.מ.ך

This root word means, “to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, nourish, carried, or make firm.”  (https://studybible.info/strongs/H539)

Add different vowels and you have two different words.

This brings me to “delight.” The Hebrew comes from the same Hebrew root as “smell.” So, delight=smell – delightful, right?

If you go back to the rest of Isaiah 11:3, you find it says, “He shall not judge by what His eyes see, or decide disputes by what His ears hear. (Emphasis mine.)

Hebrew likes to play with words. It happens all the time in the Bible which when translated by the Greeks, puzzled them. That’s why some phrases in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, are hard to understand.

Have you ever heard the expression about a dog or other animal being able to “Smell fear?” But this kind of fear has a delightful scent. One scholar spoke of it as “Fear of Jehovah is fragrant to Him.” Not His own fear of the LORD, but the fear He smells in others for the LORD.

(https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/11-3.html, Christ and the Fear of Jehovah)

Others say instead of using His sense of sight and hearing to judge, the Messiah will use His sense of smell to judge. Kind of like, “I can smell a rat” type of thing.

Respect or Fear

My second word search was on “fear.” Most of us have read this word over and over or heard it explained by our pastors.

Fear means, “pertaining to respect toward a superior” as well as “being afraid”.

(James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997)).

I think there should be a combination of both these meanings in our fear of the LORD. (The word for the Lord in this verse is YHWH or Yehovah.)

The Creator of EVERYTHING deserves all our respect, but we should also have a healthy fear of God.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

So, my prayer is both to delight in the fear of my God, Yehovah–the Maker of all things, and to delight in the fragrant aroma of YOUR fear of the LORD as well.

9 thoughts on “Smelling the Fear of the LORD

  1. Thanks for sharing this enlightening message. I especially enjoyed the details about Hebrew root words!

  2. This is a great word, Stephanie. Thank you for your insightfulness. There’s so much truth about searching for the true meaning of words in the Bible so they can encourage and push us forward. It’s easy to just read the stories and bypass the deeper meaning of God’s word, or skip over those parts we don’t quite understand. But that’s not what God means for us to do. He wants us to dig deep to find the treasure.

  3. Welcome back to the “blogosphere” (is that really a word) Ms. Stephanie. Great way to start the year ma’am. Something I’ve learned about mercy is that it seems the more of it I give; the more I find I need in my own life. Like you, I’m thanking my merciful God this day.

  4. Glad to see you are back updating your blog!
    I have been reading a chapter everyday in Isaiah and only have the last two to go. Very Rewarding to see the promises found through that book! ~Ben C.

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