How do you approach God?
As I’m reading through the books of Kings, I’m struck by the difference of how Israel approached God and how we approach Him today. Yes, times have changed, but God has not and so haven’t humans. In the beginning of the first book of Kings, it is written about the life of Solomon and the temple he constructed for the Lord. There are chapters dedicated to describing the intricate details of this temple – the elaborate designs, only the finest of materials, and the grandeur that building exhibited.
Even moving the ark of the Lord from Zion to the new temple was an event of its own with the elders present and every Israelite present to give offerings and pray for the safe and peaceful journey of the ark.
The people of Israel knew who God was – He is all-powerful, almighty and the King of Kings who deserves the very best of everything. And so they gave Him only the best - they only approached Him in this Holy temple after offering sacrifices and asking for mercy.
In 1 Kings, 8:23, Solomon begins his prayer at the dedication of the temple with these words: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heave above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their Hearts.”
Our approach to church and even God today is very different – it’s more casual and tinged with a good dose of pride. We treat God almost like a best friend or good companion.
Yes, we start almost every service with worship, but it’s not the kind of worship filled with humility and awe. We talk about how great God is and how He wants us to be happy, but our lives don’t reflect the fact that we walk before a God that holds the whole world in His hands. We expect His kindness, mercy and blessings, but we don’t take the time to think of His wrath and high expectations for our lives.
Have you been to the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.? I personally haven't, but seeing photos like this and hearing friends share their experiences, I've learned that standing next to this sculpture makes you feel incredibly small.
Now, close your eyes and imagine standing before the throne of our God. The Bible says that heaven is His throne and earth is a mere footstool. All of earth is just a resting place for His feet.
But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.” – Matthew 5:34-35
In Revelations chapter 4, John describes God's throne and the grandeur is exuberant. And later in Chapter 20, he describes God's throne with frightening words of power:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. Revelations 20:11
After describing the magnificence that he saw, John writes:
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Revelations 1:17-18.
How do you approach God? Do you fall in humility before His feet? Are you grateful to the core that He loves you despite yours sins, mistakes, shortcomings and selfish ambitions? Are you in awe of the blessings and salvation He's given you freely and generously, knowing that you can never come close to repaying such grace?
I am ashamed to say that too often I don't give God the respect and honor He deserves. I don't spend enough time just standing still in His presence - soaking in His love or crying in shame at my sin.
I'm not saying that we should stand terrified of our Lord - because He is a gentle and loving God, but as Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge...We must not fear God as much as we should fear breaking His commandments and being outside of His protection because of the sin in our lives. Check out this sermon on the topic of fear! (I listened to it this weekend and it's transformed the way I think about fear - can't wait to follow along with the rest of the series.)
So, next time you come before the Lord - whether in church or at the end of your day in your bedroom - come as you would before a King: humble and in awe. Give Him the gift of glory and respect that He deserves.
And know that whatever challenges you're facing today - He has the power to solve every problem you have; to transform your life; to heal and to bless beyond your wildest dreams. Allow Him to work in Your life. Then, stand back and be amazed.
Happy Monday lovelies!