July 1, 2012
Awed by Godís Grandeur
ďHow awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!Ē (Genesis 28:17).
On some level, every human being can understand the amazement of Jacob when he realized what he was seeing. As he slept that night at Bethel, fleeing from his brotherís wrath and with a stone as his pillow, he dreamed of ďa ladder [that] was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on itĒ (Genesis 28:12). Above the ladder was God Himself, who spoke to Jacob words of promise and hope! And having grasped this portion of Godís greatness, Jacob was a man changed for the better.
Like Jacob, we need to contemplate the majesty of God and the marvel of Godís communication with Godís creation. Nothing is more healthy for us spiritually than to be struck by the wonderful lightning of Godís grandeur. It is a truly transforming experience.
It was Immanuel Kant who said, ďTwo things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.Ē The connection between these two sources of wonder is more than coincidental. We canít give serious consideration to Godís greatness without being appalled by the huge chasm between Godís perfection and our own imperfection. To be awed by Godís grandeur is to be moved to turn away from anything inconsistent with Godís glory. Thus for fallen creatures such as we are, there must always be strong elements of humility and repentance in worship. ďRepentance is the process by which we see ourselves, day by day, as we really are: sinful, needy, dependent people. It is the process by which we see God as he is: awesome, majestic, and holyĒ (Charles Colson). For us, godly sorrow should be a quite natural part of our reverence.
Godís grandeur . . . our need . . . unutterable awe. These things are the very heartbeat of religion. If we really live in God, weíll lose ourselves in wonder before God.
ďFor worship is a thirsty land crying out for rain. It is a candle in the act of being kindled. It is a drop in quest of the ocean, . . . It is a voice in the night calling for help. It is a soul standing in awe before the mystery of the universe, . . . It is time flowing into eternity, . . . [It is] a man climbing the altar stairs to GodĒ (Dwight Bradley).