FEAR OF GOD IN SOCIETY
An Historical and Cultural Perspective
The fear of God can have a great impact on a society as well as an individual. Numerous places in the scripture (1) and in history (2) depict how a community or culture is influenced by a meeting with God. Some call it a revival; others a refreshing. The point is that God was present and great conviction came upon the people.
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Revivals were times God's presence became very clearly aware to His people. Actually, people all around became convicted and many were saved. We know this was a release of the Holy Spirit upon the land and great changes occurred because of it, many of them long in duration.
Psalm 78 gives us an overview of how a society falls away from the Lord.
The pattern is repeated so often in this Psalm that by the time one has read the whole Psalm, one knows what is going to happen next. Fortunately, there is a great unexpected ending. Here are a few verses. We are clearly taught that the fear of God can dissipate in less than a generation. Judgment is used to bring a hardened people back to Himself.
Below is a chart that helps map out the difference between the group of people that warmly respond to God because of His grace and the ones who have a short lived fear because no grace had accompanied God's awesome revelation of Himself.
Think of our modern society today. God has been stripped from people's thinking. They might be religious or even evangelical, but rarely is there a real fear of God. God at one point had shaped the people's perspectives. The changed people changed the laws and expectation of society's behavior. Today the culture is less and less affected by God. The people might be religious but not at all affected by God's presence. They are not even aware of Him. God in His grace will meet us in judgment to call us back to Himself. A good fear of God would call us back without judgment, but it seems we have an insufficient amount of that.
Below is a quotation of certain characteristics of revival.