Do you fear God?
Think about it.
I got to thinking about it after reading the first few chapters of Ezekiel. If you need a refresher in the holiness and grandeur of God, take a few minutes and meditate on Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of the Lord:
And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
(Ezekiel 1:26-28 ESV)
Zeke was given a vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord, and he was brought flat down on his face in reverence. He didn’t see God fully. He had a vision of the likeness of God, and it laid him out. Like the apostle John in Revelation (When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last” -Revelation 1:17 ESV), a close encounter with the God of the universe was not a “seeker-friendly” thing. I wonder if Ezekiel’s falling down and having to be lifted up by the Holy Spirit was his way of saying “What I saw was so unbelievably awesome and terrifying at the same time, the life went out of me.” It certainly seems to have been the case for John.
Either way, one thing I see in this is that these guys had a biblical, proper fear and reverence for the Lord of all, wouldn’t you say? So back to my original question: do you? Do I?
Now let me caveat all this with this: thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we can BOLDY approach the Father, seated on His throne of grace. Praise God for that! I do not have to fear that God will utterly destroy me for my sins, and I can come to Him as one of His very own sons. PRAISE GOD!
But so could John. He saw the risen Christ in the flesh as a young man. He was there in the upper room when He walked through the walls and spoke with them. He saw Jesus rise into heaven at His ascension. But when He came face to face with the risen and glorified Jesus, John fell down dead.
I think that we’ve lost much of that reverence and awe of God in the modern church. I think we approach the throne arrogantly sometimes, rather than from a boldness secured by the unmeasurable payment of the Lamb of God slain for our very sins.
I think we forget just how holy and separate from us God is. I think we take for granted the sacrifice that was necessary to allow us to approach Him. I think we can sometimes forget Who it is we are praying or singing to. These verses in Ezekiel serve as a reminder to us of just how holy, how “other”, God is from us.