I fear that we each, more often than not, have a far too comfortable view of God. We speak of Him so casually at times, like He is more of our best buddy than the very Creator and Lord of the universe. Our approach of Him lacks the reverence which He so much deserves. We treat corporate worship so routinely as if it is just something that we do rather than the very reason for which we were made and the awesome privilege of being in His holy presence with His holy people to proclaim His wonderful beautiful name.
When we look at God’s holy nature revealed to us in His Word, we do not find a God who we should be comfortable with. Who we can just carelessly approach or think that we can control. But One who should place us in constant amazement and in awe. Who should move us to continually exclaim, “Who is like this God? How marvelous He is.” Who very well may make us scratch our heads at times trying to figure Him out. A God who really cannot be figured out by our small human minds since He is so much unlike us.
After all, this is the God who told Moses to take off his sandals because due to His presence there, the man currently stood on holy ground, leading Moses to hide his face in fear to look at the apparition (Exodus 3:5-6). Who thundered with peals of lightning from the top of Mt. Sinai warning the Israelites not to get near Him (Exodus 19:16-25). The thrice holy God who caused the prophet Isaiah to shake far more than the thresholds of the temple when He appeared before him there. And when the prophet finally gains enough composure to speak, all he can utter is “Woe is me. I am undone!” and recognize his great sinfulness (Isaiah 6:1-5). Likewise Peter, after a miraculous catch of fish orchestrated by Jesus, falls down before Him and exclaims, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord,” being astonished at this with his companions (Luke 5:8-9). The disciples later actually wind up becoming more fearful of the One who calms the storm than they were of the storm itself, prompting them to ask, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:35-41). Even the soldiers who come to arrest Jesus find that they cannot stand in His holy presence when He utters the divine “I Am” (John 18:6).
In light of all this, how can we treat such a God so casually? To not be wowed at Who He is every time we think of Him? He cannot in any sense of the word be considered “boring.” Not a God which we could ever tire of if we keep in mind Who He actually is. That in essence has to be our problem. We have forgotten His greatness and His might. We have grown too comfortable with an uncomfortable God.
This is not a God to be taken lightly. He did not take too kindly to Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offering up the type of fire they desired for the altar of incense in exchange for that which He commanded them (Leviticus 10:1-3). Who refused to let Moses enter the promised land on account of his disobedience (Numbers 20:10-13), struck down Uzzah for just touching the ark of the covenant which symbolized for the Israelites His holy presence (2 Samuel 6:5-7), ensured that Ananias and Sapphira’s lie to Him was their very last (Acts 5:1-11), and, in love, showing grace and mercy crushed His own Son for the salvation of the sins of those who place their trust only in Him (Isaiah 53).
And yet how often do we think or act as if we can bend this God to agree with our wills rather than submit our will to His? To treat Him as some sort of cosmic bell hop who will deliver our every whim or wish. I cringe whenever I hear someone order Him to do something in Jesus’ name as if they control Him. (There is a difference between humbly asking something being resolved ultimately to accept His will whatever that may be and making demands upon Him as if He answers to us rather than us answering to Him.)
It is because we are so prone to forget God’s holiness leading us to think, speak, and approach Him so casually and imagine that we can control Him at times as to why I believe that it is so essential to be in the Word every day throughout this new year. Why once again we will be printing out a Bible reading plan that will take you from the first verse in Genesis all the way to the last line of Revelation in a year’s time. (Some of you may already be working your way through and if the plan we provide isn’t helpful for you, there are other plans out there. The main thing is that you are experiencing our great God through His inspired Word each day.) I do want to encourage you in your reading though to really pay attention to the God you encounter through it’s pages. You will probably be surprised at times. Astonished. Amazed at Who He is and what He has done. Let His holy character move and shape you. And may each of us take Him far more seriously and much less casually as a result.
Love in Christ,