I’ve often written that the heart of all of America’s problems is that they have turned away from God and that the only way to save our nation is to return to Him. It was pointed out to me over the weekend that the #1 root problem goes beyond just our turning away from God.
America and Americans no longer fear God in the biblical sense.
Proverbs 1:7 states:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
But what does the Bible mean when it talks about the fear of the Lord?
For non-Christians it means the feeling of terror they feel when they realize that the wrath of God is upon them. This is an extremely uncomfortable feeling as well it should be and most non-Christians choose to ignore it rather than deal with it, but that doesn’t make it go away. When they choose to ignore God and no longer fear Him, they become fools who live their lives based upon their sinful lusts and desires, ignoring what they know to be true.
For Christians the fear of the Lord means a wholehearted life of worship and submission to Almighty God. We obtain this by pursuing Scripture and earnestly seeking after God’s Word. Deut. 4:10 tells us:
“…how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’”
Psalm 119:38 states:
“Confirm unto thy servant thy word, Which is in order unto the fear of thee.”
We also obtain the fear of the Lord by pursuing sanctification, walking and living a life of righteousness and turning away from evil. Job 1:1,8 states:
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil… And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’”
Prov. 8:13 teaches us:
“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
Prov. 16:6 teaches us:
“By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”
In John Murray’s booklet The Fear of God, he states:
“The fear of God is the soul of godliness.”
Having a healthy fear of God is not always easy as it calls us to do things contrary to our nature and our own desires as we learn in Gen. 22:1-11 where God instructed Abraham to take his son Isaac to the land or Moriah and offer him up to God as a burnt offering. This had to tear at the very heart of Abraham who loved his son more than anything. It was the son of his old age and the apparent heir to the promises that God had made to him about being the father of many nations and people.
But Abraham feared God and obeyed Him. For three days they journeyed and Abraham must have dreaded every step he took. Young Isaac saw that his father had wood, fire and a knife but no lamb to sacrifice. As a parent can you even imagine how Abraham must have felt when his son asked him where is the lamb for the burnt offering? The only response Abraham could give his son was to tell him that God will provide.
Abraham found the place, built an altar, placed the wood on it and then tied up his young son and placed him on the wood. With his heart ripping apart, Abraham took the knife and lifted it up over his son. The angel of the Lord then spoke to Abraham and told him:
“Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
At one time in our nation’s early history, most Americans and our leaders had the same fear of the Lord and God blessed our young country and helped it to grow and prosper. But now few if any of our leaders and people fear God as Abraham did. No longer fearing God, our nation has turned to evil ways.
We’ve seen the results of our not fearing God in the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexuality. Myself and others instantly wrote about the need for repentance after the high court’s ruling, but the root of our nation’s problem goes beyond just repentance. We need to learn and develop the fear of God like Abraham had.
Sadly, the vast majority of professing Christians no longer fear God and allow themselves to compromise the Word of God. They succumb to the evil ways of the world and begin to embrace and accept sinful ways like living together outside of marriage and homosexuality. If they truly feared God, they would see the wrong and horror of same-sex marriage, but they don’t because they have been blinded by their lack of fear of the Lord. If Christians had a true fear of God, they would realize that you cannot be a Christian and a homosexual or accepting of homosexual ways.
Learning to fear God needs to start with each one of us individually. We have to learn to hate the sin that is in our own hearts before worrying about the sins in the hearts of others. We need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word, not the words of men; walk and live a righteous life in Christ and then we will learn what it means to fear God. The more people in our nation that learn to fear God the better there is hope for our nation in the future. In fact, the only hope for the future of America is to not only be one nation under God, but to be ONE NATION WHO FEARS GOD!