Our pastor challenged us on Sunday to evaluate whether or not we have an accurate view of how holy God is.
The implication is we tend to humanize God and lose awareness of how majestic and grand and wholly above us in rank and perfection He truly is. And when we are not consciously aware of how awesome He literally is, our worship and our morals become lax.
Our pastor stopped there, but my brain did not.
I’ve been wondering how my day-to-day would change if I were more consistently focused on God’s grandeur. If I could be perpetually caught up in the fact that He is GOD – Creator, Sustainer and Savior of the ENTIRE universe – how would my approach to life change?
While I don’t yet consistently think of Him, I have successfully focused on Him for a minute or two before.
After the pastor finished his sermon on Sunday, this song played:
While I sang along, I thought about the passages in Scripture where people saw God. Isaiah, Ezekiel, John… They all tried to describe what they saw, but they lacked the words to accurately convey God. What they did communicate perfectly, though, was the awe and humility they felt in the Lord’s presence.
Upon realizing he was in the presence of the Lord, Isaiah said, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty,” (Isaiah 6:5).
In that moment, Isaiah recognized the depth of his sinfulness and the height of God’s holiness. Isaiah knew he was unworthy to be in the presence of God, and he had a healthy fear of the penalty (death) God could rightfully inflict upon him for being unclean in God’s presence.
In Revelation John attempts to describe his vision of the resurrected Jesus Christ in all His glory. Although John’s similes and metaphors don’t capture precisely what he saw, we know exactly what John felt. He said, “When I saw [Jesus], I fell at his feet as though dead,” (Revelation 1:17). John was OVERWHELMED by Jesus’ presence. His brilliance and grandeur was too much for John to process. Two other times during John’s vision, he falls down in a posture of worship, unable to contain his feelings of awe toward the Lord (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9).
Ezekiel responds similarly in 1:28, falling facedown when the Lord speaks to him.
These men had a proper perspective of God’s supremacy.
I wonder if, while seeing the seraphs hover around God’s throne, singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory,” Isaiah fretted about what the Israelites thought about him (Isaiah 6:2-3). As a prophet proclaiming the judgment and wrath of God, Isaiah didn’t have many friends. In fact, he had a lot of folks who would rather kill him than continue to listen to his “message from God” about how God was going to destroy them on account of their sin.
But as Isaiah focused on the true glory of the Lord, his concerns about his popularity and safety probably faded into the background of his mind, if they didn’t fall off his radar completely.
I wonder if, while he was in the presence of the Lord, John worried about loneliness. He was currently exiled on an island, under house arrest, virtually alone. I bet a lot of his needs for fellowship and emotional intimacy with friends and family were going unfulfilled. He may have been a pretty depressed guy, loathing his very existence.
And then he saw the Lord.
While he was in God’s presence, I have a hunch John didn’t give one thought to his problems. I bet his needs didn’t seem so pressing, and his wants probably didn’t feel so dire.
And I’m thinking the same can be true for us.
I’ve experienced flashes of this in my Christian life. For literally a minute or two, caught up in the TRUTH of God’s greatness, I’ve experienced the camera of my soul zoom in on Him while my problems blurred in the background.
In those precious moments, I didn’t think about the problems. I didn’t even seem to notice them much. And when I did catch a glimpse of them, they felt irrelevant. They no longer produced anxiety or despair in my spirit. They were distant… for a couple of minutes.
I think God wants us to experience minutes like these more and more often. Moments of focusing on His greatness need to become the norm in our lives. When we accurately understand the glory of the Lord, everything else in our lives falls into it’s proper place.