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WHERE IS OUR AWE?

September 17, 2016

Text: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” Deuteronomy 10:17

Encounters between God and his creation man in the Scriptures were most always upsetting events, a display of the incomparable power and the holiness of the God of Israel , and the cowering men who ran away from his frightful power. Whatever men were present on such an occasion fell to the ground confessing their extreme deficiencies in the presence of the Almighty God.  Isaiah presents us striking testimony,  And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5 

Modern man takes God’s Lordship and Divine majesty  much too casually!  Think, folk! When you are in the presence of God do you praise, honor, and worship the God of the universe, or do you try to be familiar and chummy with Him? Do you think of Him as a “pal” or as the Divine, Omnipotent, Omnipresent Supreme Being. Or do you have your heart set to venerate and glorify God, or just address him halfheartedly or nonchalantly. Back in the 1950s J. B.  Phillips  wrote a book called “Your God Is Too Small”.  The author described various concepts that he thought the public had about God. Phillips thought that some conceived God as a “grand old man in the sky”. Others imagined him as a policeman. There were several more faulty conceptions. Phillips was dead right as he exposed the misconceptions of the public about twisted ideas regarding God. No, our times are not in touch with God!

Our lack of understanding of God’s true nature and our absence of reverence and awe before Him are insolent and embarrassing to our relationship with Him.  We do not know how to act in His presence, nor to praise Him in Spirit and in Truth.

Let us notice the way the Israelites re-acted in the presence of God. After the Exodus, the Israelites  came to Mt. Sinai to make  a covenant with the The Lord. They stood in assembly around Mt. Sinai while Moses read the covenant laws . Clouds covered the mountain while thundering and lightning were so loud that nothing else could be heard.The Israelites panicked and ran away, telling Moses that they never wanted to see this again and he would henceforth be their sole moderator with God. Moses reported this in Deuteronomy 5:4. “The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain.”  The presence of God, his glory and power, caused them intense fear. They feared Him, not particularly because of  punishment, but because of His magnificent display in approaching them, and His wonderful works. 

The actions of men of Bible times, when accosted by God, demonstrated that they knew who God is and what He can do. When they realize that they are in His presence, their behavior changes as the appearance of God demands. Isaiah relates his reaction to seeing God on his throne. (See Isaiah 6:5 above.)   And Saul the persecutor of the early church found himself overwhelmed in the presence of Jesus. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” Acts 9:4-5a  Let’s continue in this vein and see the ways other Old Testament figures reacted.  After his dream of the ladder to heaven, Jacob awoke and recognized that the place of his overnight stay  was a , Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is  in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16-17  You  want more examples, of course.  Moses found God in the midst of a burning bush and God revealed that He had chosen Moses to free his people. And he said,“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” Exodus 3:6  In his book “The Knowledge of the Holy” A. W.  Tozer  gives readers a great summation. “Wherever God appeared in Bible times the results were the same  –  an overwhelming sense of  terror and dismay, a wrenching sensation of sinfulness and guilt”….”The fear of God was more than a natural apprehension of danger; it was a nonrational dread, an acute feeling of personal insufficiency in the presence of God the Almighty”.

Christians would do well to re-study who God is and pay Him His due!

How shall polluted mortals dare

To sing Thy glory or Thy grace?

Beneath thy feet we lie afar,

And see but shadows of Thy face.”

IsaacWatt

I acknowledge my debt in writing this article to A. W. Tozer in his book “The Knowledge of the Holy”; a truly inspiring work.

 

REM

 

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