For a time, I was the reigning champion in my church for making scratch biscuits and gravy. Every month, when the men gathered for our leadership meeting, I would go early and, with the help of a good friend, provide biscuits and gravy for all.
I was doing pretty well until one Saturday morning. I was putting my secret recipe in a stainless-steel mixing bowl and discovered I was missing one critical ingredient. In a panic, I substituted something off the shelf in the hope it would suffice.
When the first batch came out of the oven, I could tell I was in trouble. The biscuits were a total loss—just because of one small ingredient. By the way, I salvaged the breakfast with a handy family-sized box of Bisquick someone had left in the church kitchen.
What happens when you totally ignore a missing ingredient in the mix of cultural happenings? Are there consequences when you know the ingredient is missing and you just ignore it or practice denial?
Absolutely, yes! The consequences for a culture are much worse than a batch of bad biscuits that you chunk into the trash. Yet a culture that ignores Who makes the world go ‘round eventually finds itself on the smoking trash heap of nations that once were.
The unprecedented events of 2020 stagger the imagination. Our world is reeling from the effects of a pandemic that forced people to be locked in their homes. Some iconic places were closed, and some of those are never reopening—even some churches. Depending on where you live, some people think this whole pandemic event feels almost like a military coup.
Now 100-plus days into 2021, the scenes on our televisions, computers, and phones tell a story of our culture rapidly accelerating toward destruction: masses at the border, lawlessness in the streets, left-wing legislative activity including the Equality Act—the most aggressive attack on people of faith in the history of the Republic.
While our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values, the erosion that has occurred in the moral psyche of our populace points toward a time of failure and collapse. And our enemies are on the rise.
What is it we have failed to consider? What is the missing ingredient that, short of rediscovery, pronounces our doom?
The fear of the Lord!
Think about it: What is the missing ingredient with every aberrant sexual behavior, every violent riot, every porn watcher, every broken home, every choice to terminate the life of a yet-to-be-born child, every act of violence, every activity that sexually/physically abuses women and children, every social post that screams the myth, “I am the little ‘g’ god of my little world,” while anonymously using the web to destroy others, cancel their identities, close their businesses, or ruin their reputations.
We have failed to consider God—the great I AM.
In our culture, “the fear of the Lord” is absent from our vocabulary. It’s not even a passing thought. We do things and say things as if we are the kings of our little kingdoms. Yet the voice of the Lord echoes into our time through Psalm 34:9 and tells us loudly and clearly, “O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him, there is no want” (NASB).
Scripture is brimming with the idea that those who practice the presence of God do so in fear. Not a phobia kind of fear but an awestruck reverence that He is totally other and is the Creator and more awesome than we could ever imagine. In contrast, we are created beings and corruptible in our ways.
Fear is the natural response of those who consider who God is. When we begin to contemplate His overwhelming attributes, they stun us into the deeper realization of His awesome power, His majesty, His purity, His goodness, and His unfailing love for fallen creatures like us.
Take it another step. David the psalmist commanded his children to come to him and he would teach them the fear of the Lord (Ps. 24:11 NASB). This is not the only passage that instructs parents to teach the fear of the Lord to their children. Hard to teach what you haven’t experienced. Yet, we are responsible to train our children to know the realities of the living God. Too many parents have relegated the teaching of all things in the universe to agents of the state or to the peers of their minor children.
If we fill our children’s heads and hearts with self-invented values; economic fantasies; confused, self-directed sexual identities; and naive thoughts about the God who is, any nation would be in big trouble. And if you aren’t aware, our Republic IS in a world of hurt. What makes us think we are somehow exempt and can ignore the living God, who spoke and the world was formed?
Let us remind ourselves daily that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of godly wisdom. In this cultural mix dashing toward the abyss, we need wisdom—God’s perspective to guide our future. Not the wisdom of this world but true wisdom rooted in an authentic fear of God who loves us the most. (Jas. 3:13-18).