The path to decadence and backsliding is rooted in the loss of reverence; and the gate to revival is a restoration of the fear of God.
Peter reminds us that as we call upon the Father, we should remember that he judges without partiality. He urges us to live in fear or reverence before such a God (I Peter 1:16-18). The psalmist declared, “My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments” (Psalm 119:120).
Jeremiah, knowing that Judah will soon disappear as a nation, due to their sins, asked them the question of God, “‘Do you not fear Me?’ says the LORD. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence …” The root of the sin that drove the abominations, the rebellion, and their lack of repentance was the absence of the fear of God. Jeremiah presents God as the Creator and manager of nature who “… placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass … though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it’” (Jeremiah 5:22). The one who controls the force and fury of nature will soon loose wrath on Judah – but they do not tremble at such a prospect.
Neither does America! We scoff at such ideas. New Orleans has become a haven for Voodoo and hedonism, and such pagan practices invite the judgment of God, and yet the suggestion that Hurricane Katrina, which means ‘purity,’ might have been the finger of God, and a warning to the nation are embarrassing to Christians and soundly rejected by the culture. Incidentally, seven years later, another hurricane with a Biblical name rumbled over the city, Isaac, meaning laughter. Other parallel events could be identified, but they are laughable today.
It is true that God did not fully abandon Israel, the people, even though they did temporarily lose their nation. There would come a day of renewal when the nation would be to Him “a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all nations of the earth,” and because of the joy that the renewed nation would bring, He would bless. And these blessings were a kind of global broadcast: the earth “shall hear all the good that I do.” And the outcome was to be that nations “shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it [Judah]” (Jeremiah 33:9). Only when they respected him again, would they be renewed.
Reverence and fear are God’s bottom line.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God …” (Deuteronomy 10:12).
Sadly, there is no fear of God in America, in Congress, in the White House, in the Courts – and little in the Church.
Adapted from The Praying Church Handbook, Volume I, Foundations, a new resource by Alive Publications.