If God did not command us to fear Him, and if He did not act in a manner to be feared, we would indeed find ourselves in a frightful existence of uncertainty and insecurity.
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).
True parental affection expresses itself as necessary in faithful parental affliction. Any love that bears no willingness to chasten as well as to caress is no love at all, but is rather a sentimentality that actually originates in selfishness. Applying the discipline of pain and loss to those whom you love is not pleasant, as any caring human parent well knows. How much easier it is to bless with the caress rather than chasten with the rod. But how necessary that a father or mother emphasize the true need of their child rather than their momentary pleasure. In fact, failure to do so involves an act of tacit hatred, and the treating of the child as if he were not a true offspring. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son... If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons" (Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:8).
Our backsides, as it were, may not relish the fear of God's rod. But deep within the spirit of the born again believer, we know that our Heavenly Father's willingness to enact discipline tells of His affection and devotion no less than His tendermercies. The love of God, the perfect love of God, assures our hearts that our Lord will sacrifice His parental yearning to administer pleasant things if our truest need requires painful things. This is a fact about God to be feared. Yes, we fear His love. But in the necessary trepidation, a blessed peace comes to us with the realization of how much we are actually cherished by the Father whose caress and chastening both reveal the most important reality of our existence...
"I have loved thee with an everlasting love."