“Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man.”
In much of the twenty first century version of Christianity there is a profound deficit according to Scripture. The Jesus we hear about from too many pulpits and in far too many books is a Man of sappy sentimentality Who could not hurt a flea. He is nice, cheerful and a great person to have on your side as you wander through life.
The Christ of the Gospels has a side to Him that defies description and that causes honest, seeking people to occasionally fall on their faces in holy fear. In numerous places in the Bible we read about this reaction on the part of God’s people when they see the Lord in His glory.
For example, the year that King Uzziah died the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord. What was Isaiah’s reaction to this self disclosure by God? He felt greatly out of place and confessed himself a sinner in the presence of a holy God. The man of God had a holy fear in God’s presence.
When our Lord caused the miraculous catch of fish as recorded in Luke 5 what was Peter’s most appropriate reaction? He sought to withdraw from Jesus whose great power had just been displayed.
In Revelation 2 when the aged servant of the Lord saw the Resurrected One what was his immediate response? He fell before Him as though he dropped dead.
Have you or have I ever had such a powerful display of the eternal God that we felt totally out of place in the presence of this holy and incredible person? Do we know what holy fear really is? Or do we play church where Jesus is a really nice fellow whom we can contain and occasionally call Him to attention when life gets a bit difficult?
Psalm 111:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Until—and unless—we have this biblical fear of God we do not truly know the Lord as we ought. This deep and profound respect and honour for the Lord comes to those who seek Him with all their hearts.
There is no place for a casual relationship with our Maker. We must learn this fear of the Lord if we shall make real progress in the faith. The words of a hymn sum it up well.
Oh how I fear The living God, with deepest trembling fear,
And worship Thee with trembling hope and penitential tear.
Yet I may love Thee too oh Lord almighty as Thou art
For Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart.
Today may all of us blend the fear of God with a true and heartfelt love of Him.