20 April 2010

Awesome God

We have too small a view of God. Signs are all around our culture. Two bumper stickers I saw recently bring this into stark view. One read "God is my co-pilot" and the other, a celebration of Dale Earnhart, "I guess God needed a driver." I also heard recently that a Christian merchandising company, with complete disregard for the 2nd commandment, is planning to make a 2 foot "stuffed God" complete with a flowing white beard.

Although I have not read Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, apparently one of his key arguments against the existence of God is that the universe is huge and God would need to be even bigger and more awesome than the universe. Yes, Dr Dawkins, He would need to be and He is.

God needs nothing from us. He is the great I AM.

King David did not have a small view of God. Consider Psalm 97: 1-7.

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!

Fire goes before Him, not a polyester white beard. He burns up those who stand against Him. The earth itself trembles. Mountains melt. Have you ever tried to melt a stone? Even just a pebble? In God's presence, mountains melt away like wax. Does this really seem like someone who needs a driver?

American Christians have a hard time understanding the concept of fear of God. David got it. So did Abram, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John--all Godly men--all terrified in the presence of God. If you read about any of these men, you will discover that when they encountered the glory of God, they immediately fell on their face. I doubt they tenderly got to their knees and then slowly laid on the ground. They fell out.

It is only through Christ's sacrificial work on the cross that we can bear to be in the presence of our holy and powerful God. When it says to fear God, take it seriously. He is truly awesome. When we understand his awesomeness and what it means to fear Him, the gift of Christ on the cross will also lead us to a much deeper humility.


Kat said...

Too often our theology is based on one of three things:
1. The American understanding of democracy.
2. Contemporary media instead of God's own Word, both inscripturated and incarnate.
3. In our mad rush to rid ourselves of the medieval trappings of worship, we have pretty much dumped the creeds upon which Christian orthodoxy has been anchored.

When we come from a mindset of a government of, by, and for the people, it is difficult to submit to an absolute authority in our lives. Most of us have never lived under the rule of a king or a totalitarian leader. Instead, we have the power to choose our own representatives to govern us. We ARE the government, and we don't fall on our knees to anybody. By doing that, we tend to form our "gods" in our own image, because we think we can control them. We've also been sold the idea that we Americans can do whatever we set our minds to do, including imposing our own philosophy of life and government on other cultures. (By doing that, we also export our view of God as a supporting player, rather than the central figure in His Story.)

One of the ways we have propagated the view of a small God is through American media, and I think that contemporary "Christian" music is one of the biggest culprits. Too much of our music today tickles our ears and twitches our toes, but it does not point us to worship an awesome God. A God who, quite frankly, does not need us to add to His greatness. He doesn't even need a backup group to enhance His solo. There are some good contemporary songs and songwriters out there, but they are in the minority. Rich Mullins "Awesome God" and stuff by the Getty's and Stuart Townend are like a breathe of spring in the smog of CCM.

God also does not need powerpoint or video or the modern film industry to enhance His own words. These are not wrong or bad in themselves, but when they take the place of solid Biblical preaching, there is something wrong.

Not only that, but contemporary films have been blasphemous in their treatment of God. Think George Burns. No wonder people don't take Him seriously.

If the Church really took God seriously, perhaps the world would listen. I believe that we need to go back to the creeds that we once held to be a necessary expression of our understanding of God and His purposes. We need to preach His Word with His authority, not stand up comedy routines and sentimental self-help.

:) Aren't you sorry you got me started? I've been listening to Rich Mullins..."first Awesome God", and then I think I'll listen to "Creed".

Disciple520 said...

I think you could appreciate this song (pretty much just based on the Psalm 97 scripture you quoted). I'd start at about 3:15 and just listen to about a minute and a half.