18 February 2022
Recently, I have been meditating on the holiness and awesomeness of God. This exercise makes me realise how believers (including myself) have ‘lost’ the appreciation and recognition of this truth – resulting in a lack of reverential experience and proper attitude as we come before the great almighty – and this in turn cause deterioration of our relationship with the Triune God and a host of ‘complaints’, ‘grumblings’ and ‘murmurings’ against the Creator in our pilgrimage on earth.
As we look at the Bible, we see many incidences of the servants of God encountering the ‘vision’ and ‘experience’ of God and in almost every instance, there was ‘overwhelming weakness’, deep sense of sinfulness and unworthiness before the Almighty:
Daniel 10:4-11 – Daniel’s vision caused him to have no strength and his face turned deadly pale. He had to be strengthened by a touch and stood up trembling, speechless.
Isaiah 6:1-7 – Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and angels were ministering to Him, calling out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaih cried out, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah experienced a deep sense of ‘uncleanness’ and ‘sinfulness’ before the holy transcendent God and he had to be touched by an angel to have his guilt taken away and his sin atoned for.
Ezekiel saw God’s throne coming at him out of a storm cloud; the throne was high above him and huge (See Ezekiel 1); the throne was accompanied by living creatures – emblems of endless energy – Ezekiel had the sense that God on the throne is infinitely and eternal powerful.
The Apostle John saw “a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it” (Rev. 4:2). Around the throne were four living creatures and day and night, they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.
“Holy” is a word that applies primarily to God and expresses everything that sets Him apart from us, making Him different; everything that sets Him above us, making Him worshipful and awesome; and everything that sets Him against us, making HIm an object of actual terror. At the centre of holiness is the moral and spiritual purity of God, contrasted with our twisted sinfulness and impurity. “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31) – this is particularly so for those ‘who have trampled the Son of God underfoot, who have treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant, and have insulted the Spirit of grace. In one sense, God’s holiness is terrible to contemplate when we face Him with our sin and as we behold His awful purity and realise the impurity and wretchedness of our being in comparison.
On the other hand, knowing that God is on the throne upholds one under pressure and in the face of bewilderment, pain, hostility, and events that appear not to make sense. It is a supportive and encouraging truth for believers, and it reflects His sovereignty and greatness.
“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to nought and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (Isaiah 40:22-24).
“Surely the ations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; He weighs the islands as though they were fine dust” (Isaiah 40:15).
We see the awesome greatness of God – He is above all and He reigns supreme – we can only bow down in worship and give Him all the glory and honour. Those who are approved by God need not fear – nothing can ‘snatch them out of the Father’s hand’ – no ruler, no kingdom, no evil force, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers… will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
We must recover the sense of God’s greatness; we need to learn afresh the spectrum of qualities that make up the holiness of God – sovereignty, greatness, purity, omnipresence, omnipotence, mercy – we must acknowledge again God’s true nature! Only then can we come before Him with reverence, self-effacement and worship. Only then can we go through life prepared to find that when what we say is disregarded and our labour seems to see no visible success, yet we seek to continue to be faithful, not necessarily fruitful. Personal worship, praise, and devotion must be the mainstay of the Christian’s life and ministry; faithfulness is our business; fruitfulness is an issue that we must be content to leave with God. With such a stance, we can go through our pilgrimage on earth with thanksgivings always and contentment to be just a means to give glory to our great almighty Triune God.