Encountering the Glory of God   Leave a comment

Throughout Scripture, when people encounter the greatness of God, they all come to the same reaction. Yet, based on my reactions or the reactions of most of the world, that reaction might not be what most expect it to be. For most of us, when we see something wondrous or spectacular (say, a magic trick or fireworks), we go “ooh” and “ahh.” We are amazed; we are captivated; we are drawn to it. And that is often my experience when I encounter the God of the Bible. Oh, wow… He did THAT? And He is like THIS? And He purchased me HOW? COOL!

Yet, that is completely different from how people in the Bible react when they encounter the glory of God. Here’s just a couple of examples to think about:

When [Jesus] had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:4-11)

(I have a small aside here: When Jesus had to feed thousands on only a few fish, I’m wondering why the disciples couldn’t remember this event. Why wouldn’t they just say, “Jesus, there’s a mud puddle. Do you want me to cover it with a net, and you can catch another million fish?” Just a thought.)

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this had touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:1-7)

… “cool” just might not be the appropriate response. The God who can command thousands of fish to jump into a net which they had evaded all day, and the God who was huge and had angels with six wings worshiping Him… people didn’t see this God and say, “Wow, that’s a neat trick” or “Wow, his robe is really big.” They put two and two together and realized that THIS GOD was the very God who would judge the sins of the world… and they went, “Uh oh. I am toast.” As we cultivate a proper understanding of our God, we should come to have more and more moments that go beyond “Cool! Thanks Jesus for the magic trick.” We should progress past that in our theology and get to a point where we can understand that the God who is “cool” is also the God who hates sin and will punish sin for all of eternity. And but for the grace of God go I…

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All pictures were taken by Harrison L. Kwock, and I have used them without his permission. If you don’t tell him, then I won’t tell him either. 😉

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Posted June 22, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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