Do you want to know one of the reasons the church in America is so weak? I believe it relates directly to how believers view God in their relationship with Him. Over the years the Bible has been attacked on all sides. It has been questioned as to how reliable it is. Did so and so really write this book? Could such and such actually have happened? Oh, that wasn’t a supernatural event; here’s the natural cause that resulted in that outcome. Bottom line? With the questioning of God’s Word, God Himself has been diminished. Seminaries have bought into this; their product – pastors – have embraced it; these men in the pulpits have passed this doubt onto their congregations. What do we have as a result? An anemic church filled with lukewarm believers whose faith in God is no greater than in themselves. God is interesting sometimes, but I have my life to live, so I’ll keep Him on a shelf until I come to church on Sunday, then I’ll go right back to living how I want.
That’s a recipe for losing God’s favor and blessings. More than that, it’s the way a nation eventually falls into disfavor with God because He gets tired of being abused in this way. When a nation turns from God through its coldness of heart as to who He truly is, can there be any outcome other than one similar to that experienced by Israel?
The Lord tells us directly in Proverbs 9:10 what we should do and what we receive from that:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Likewise, Psalm 111:10 repeats this counsel:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
When we fear the Lord, our benefit is twofold. We gain wisdom, and we receive insight or understanding. Who wouldn’t want these blessings in his life? Apparently many.
Who in the church today truly fears God? If people did, do you think they’d ignore or disrespect Him as they do? They ignore Him by not reading His Word, i.e. His love letter to each of us and the source of guidance in our lives. Obviously, people believe they can do just as well without Godly counsel as with it. They disrespect Him by questioning the authority of His Word, its inerrancy, the supernatural aspect of it. They are so in the world that they are of the world. That being the case, anything outside the world and greater than the world is suspect.
Yet think about all that people miss with such an attitude. Psalm 147:11 tells us:
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
When people fear God, He loves that! He takes pleasure in that heart action by an individual. Such fear should be thought of as reverent awe How does this awe arise? It comes through the Word of God initially which tells us of His greatness. Look at Psalm 147:4-5:
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
Of course, when we read the latter chapters of Job, we get similar language that shows us God’s magnificence. How can we puny human beings begin to comprehend what God has done? He created all the stars, all the solar systems and galaxies beyond numbering, and He named them all. How do we even come to grips with such power and might? We can’t. But the one thing we can do is to be in awe of God for having done these things.
When a people forget – or never learn – about the greatness of God, they neglect to fear Him as they should. They turn to other interests and inevitably to other gods. Those gods may be seen in the form of idols, or as is common with us in the West, as money, power, or any of a number of other things less tangible than something made of silver or gold before which they bow down and worship. In all cases, God is dismissed as irrelevant because all fear of Him has been lost.
But God will not allow this to stand. Because He is God, this very fact demands that we worship Him, and Him alone. A people that doesn’t do this reaps the disastrous consequences.
We have been traveling that downhill road for some time here in America. Through our disdain of God, we have told Him we no longer wish His presence in our lives or in the interests of our nation. We are currently seeing the outcome of this, and it will get worse.
Bible prophecy tells us these days would look exactly like they do. Is there any remedy? For our nation, doubtful. For each of us, absolutely. It begins with regaining that reverent fear of God that is so necessary to receiving the goodness He wants to shower upon us. He will still do that, even in the midst of increasing darkness. If we seek Him by changing our attitude toward Him, who can say what astounding miracles may happen by this supernatural loving God whose great desire is to bless those who bless Him?