I keep hearing preachers defining the “Fear of the Lord” as reverential awe. In my opinion this downplays what we know in our heart the word fear actually means.
According to Merriam Webster it can mean reverential awe, but it also means anxious concern and reason for alarm.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 KJV, And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Paul said in Philippians 2:12 KJV
Wherefore, my beloved, … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Does that sound like reverential awe or does it sound like what you know in your heart fear means, it means I’m afraid. I’m scared. My eternal salvation is in jeopardy if I continue in sin.
Jude 1:23 KJV says, And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
There is certainly a place for reverential awe. There is also a time and place for realizing eternity is at stake, a time for reasonable, genuine fear.