Monday, October 3, 2011

01.31.11 Beginning to Fear the Lord

From the moment I surrendered my life to Jesus, I felt deeply connected to him.  I have never doubted God's goodness or struggled to believe that he loved me.  The Holy Spirit has always given me a deep love for the Bible and, I believe, a certain grasp on its teachings.  I am thankful that God is so familiar to me, but today, I was struck with how little I truly understand him.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and
My thoughts than your thoughts."
God speaking through the prophet Isaiah, chapter 55 

I've been so secure in my relationship with Jesus that I just forgot how awesome he is, in the true definition of being extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.  He can literally do whatever he wants; no one could stop him.

I often think of God's hugeness in terms of what he has already done, like create the universe, or part the Red Sea, or raise the dead.  I am humbled by the fact that the power of God which worked these wonders is the same power alive and at work in me. 

But I rarely think of God's sovereignty in terms of possibilities of what could be.  I haven't spent much time meditating on the very frightening truth that God could have chosen to utterly destroy humanity, right back there in chapter 3 of Genesis.  I rarely contemplate the coming judgment and what that means for the enemies of God.  I am not often struck by the unimaginable reality that God, in every moment, is able to commune with every single person who calls on him, and that all of creation in fact lives and moves and exists through Christ (Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

Considering these truths helps me begin to fear the Lord, with the kind of fear that leads to reverence of his majestic holiness and gratitude for his abundant mercy.  I begin to understand Jesus' warning not to be silenced by the threats of men, who can do nothing to my soul, my core being. Instead, I should save my fear for God, who holds my entire life—body and soul—in his hands. (Matthew 10:28).  To recognize what God could do to me, but doesn't, inspires devoted service.  Meditating on his power, and recognizing the grace with which he executes it towards me, evokes praise.

The Lord Has No Equal
Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket.  They are nothing more than dust on the scales.  He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.  The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes they count for less than nothing— mere emptiness and froth.
To whom can you compare God?
What image can you find to resemble him?
Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand?
Are you deaf to the words of God - the words he gave before the world began?
Are you so ignorant?

God sits above the circle of the earth.  The people below seem like grasshoppers to him.  He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing.

“To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?  He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name.  Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
excerpts from chapter 40 of the prophet Isaiah

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