The Benefits of Fearing God

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2019 15 May

An image of a purple flowering trees and a lamp post against a deep blue sky.

When I was in college, I read an amazing story in the student newspaper. It seems that a fellow student had traveled out west and discovered a gold mine on property to which she promptly filed claim. But her discovery pales in comparison to one reported in the news a few years ago.

In the constellation of Cancer, scientists have discovered a planet, twice the size of ours, which they inelegantly named “55 Cancri e.” The remarkable thing about this swiftly moving planet is not its enormous mass (eight times that of Earth’s) but that a third of it is made of pure diamond.

The only difficulty for would-be treasure hunters is that this fabulous trove is located 230 trillion miles from earth with temperatures that soar to 3,900 degrees. Even if they did find a way to haul the diamond planet home and cool it down, where would they find a warehouse big enough to store it or enough diamond cutters to slice it in to faceted gems?

About the find, Yale researcher, Nikku Madhusudhan commented, “This is our first glimpse of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from Earth.” We can no longer assume “that other rocky planets share the same chemical constituents, interiors, atmospheres, or biologies as Earth.”1 As another report explained, “The revelation of the planet's diamond nature means that it could have very different thermal evolution and plate tectonics processes than Earth, which could create bizarre types of volcanism, seismic activity, and mountain formation.”2

Diamond planets are just one reminder of the many mysteries that remain in the universe. Though each new discovery enhances our understanding, there are still countless things we don’t comprehend. It would be safe to say that we don’t understand how many things we don’t understand.

That’s also true when it comes to our knowledge of God. No matter how much you pray or how much you study, he remains a mystery, a Being who must always be approached with fear and awe even by those most confident of his love. Our thoughts are not his thoughts. Our ways are not his ways. He is higher than anything we can imagine.

As we learn about God’s attributes, let’s ask him to increase our sense of holy fear, remembering that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). The Bible tells us that fear of God produces many wonderful benefits, including friendship with God, long life, protection from evil, riches, honor, and salvation. Odd as it may seem, Scripture indicates that the fear of God is a treasure we should seek.

  1. Chris Wickham, “A diamond bigger than Earth?” October 21, 2012, posted on
  2. Clara Moskowitz, “Space diamond, larger than Earth, spotted by astronomers,”, October 11, 2012, posted on