By Vincent Calvert, reprinted with permission
Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty (Job 37:22)
Something has been missing from the pulpit as well as the congregation. That is The Fear of God.
One may adore the Lord Jesus Christ for His wonderful sacrifice on the cross and I do as well. I also have comfort knowing God is in control when I feel I have lost control. But, nothing quite invokes a deeper respect of God, to me, than the verses of God in His form of terrible power and unquenchable glory. Is or was there a person in your life who frightened the daylights out of you, yet you wholly respected? Modern churches portray God as a really great guy who comes off warm and fuzzy as he loves and protects us. I believe God (masculine) is placed in a motherly (feminine) aspect. More often than not are the positive attributes (loving, nurturing, comforting, life-giving etc.) coddled and spoken of than any other. All these are good and accurate but can portray a soft, apathetic, and maybe even a feminine character of God if spoken without balance. God has much strength, power, omniscience, and a frightening judgement to both the lost and saved. Hooyah!
We fall short at our attempts of describing God as an all-powerful creator who has conquered death; even more so if we have no fear of God. We must fear God THEN we can see the other comforting aspects of His character. What makes Christ's sacrifice so amazing? He DIED for you. But what kind of person are you? Wholly undeserving, filthy, and a worm. The Lord Jesus Christ did not have to die for you. But He did.
As I read God’s holy and beautiful word, I often pause on verses of God’s terrible majesty and man’s pathetic response. Jesus is not the only “image” of God. God is also spirit and He can manifest Himself in whatever fashion He desires. Sometimes in flesh (Jesus), sometimes in explosive wind, thrashing out of a whirlwind, as with Job. Often people set out to memorize pretty verses of love and comfort. Not bad. But what about verses on God’s mighty power? I would like to challenge whoever is reading this, when you read your Bible, to write down those passages of God’s majesty which frighten you to your core. It is sobering, humbling, and fun. I started reading through the Bible again about a month or so ago and already started to transcribe verses which invoked a sense of fearful wonder. Yes God created the earth. Yes God sent fire upon the water-soaked altars in response to Elijah’s prayer. These types of verses about the ACTS of God are good.
But I recommend concentrating on the verses which describe God and the emotions of those who come face-to-face with the almighty.
The sound of God's voice, the tumult from which God reveals himself, the sheer horror of suddenly seeing God, the power and the glory of our perfect God. John may have fainted when he came face to face with God in heaven, but what did other people do?
What will you do at the Judgment Seat?
Below are a few of the best I have read thus far. I am reading through chronologically and am about half-way through Exodus. I encourage you to read the Scripture yourself.
Job has many references to a frightening encounter with God. Chapter 38:1, the LORD speaks from the whirlwind and gives a righteous smackdown to Job and his friends. Job does not know how to respond in 40:3-5. Verse 7 God tells Job to be a man.
I have heard it often said, people cannot wait to see God. They want to run into His arms and hug Him. But, in Job 41:25, God says He is more frightening than the Leviathan. The presence of the leviathan makes people void their bowels in fear; God says He is more frightening.
Job 42:5,6 - Job cowers in God's presence and hates himself
Genesis 28:16,17 - Even in a beautiful mystery, one can find horror. Jacob dreamed of the ladder with the angels ascending and descending. His response was to call where he was a dreadful place because of God’s presence.
Exodus 19:12-24 [16-21] - Mount Sinai sanctified; God condescends in a manner much like a volcano eruption.
Exodus 20:18-20 - The people’s response to this event and God speaking the ten commandments was one of fear. Precisely what God intended.