Deuteronomy 10:12–13, Fear YHVH your Elohim. The two levels of fear. There are two aspects or levels of fearing Elohim. The higher of the two is the sense of awe and reverence we should have for him simply because of who he is, and that is what Moses calls for here. Such fear is easy to imagine, hard to walk out. Because of who he is, we should love him, and want to obey him because it pleases him (not to mention that it will bring great blessings upon us).
The second fear, and the lesser of the two, is the fear of physical punishment because of disobedience to YHVH (The ArtScroll Kestenbaum Edition Tikkun, p. 433). When the higher fear fails to be a significant motivating dynamic in our lives, we are introduced to the lower fear through the “school of hard knocks” or the consequences of our sinful actions. If this causes us to wake up from our spiritual stupor and we correct the error of our ways, then we can come back to the higher level of fear—obeying YHVH because we love and revere him. Sadly, it seems that few humans ever figure out these fundamental spiritual principles and make it to the higher level.
If we walk constantly in a loving reverence of Elohim, we will keep his commandment because we love him, because he is Elohim and it’s our duty to serve and obey him, and, lastly, because we don’t want to come upon us the consequences that disobedience brings.
How can we achieve the greater level of fear and maintain it as a constant force operating in our lives to help keep us on the straight and narrow path of righteousness, while at the same time walking in intimacy with the Father? This can only occur through a relationship with Yeshua and the work of his Set-Apart Spirit who has written YHVH’s Torah on our hearts.