After my wife and I were married on May 22, 1971, my hometown newspaper carried an article about the wedding. It contained this sentence, “Robert Simms, brother of the groom, played a concert of scared music before the ceremony.” In that case the transposition of two letters nonetheless conveyed a true statement! It was a sacred moment, but I was a scared man!
While musing on that event recently, it occurred to me that some things sacred should cause us to be somewhat “scared,” at least in one sense of that word. One of the most essential aspects of our worship of almighty God, for example, should be our awestruck humility before Him. One of the Bible words for “worship” literally means “to do the dog before,” or “to bow.”
In a day of presumptive, casual approaches to God, thoughtless, overly familiar speech about Him, and careless un-devoted living, we need to be reminded of Who and What He is. He is not one to be trifled with or treated with nonchalance. True, God is available and approachable. But He is also high and holy. Remember, the same Bible that says “God is love” also says He is to be honored and held high. There are many verses about that. For example, Psalm36:1 says He is “fearful.” Daniel 9:4 tells us He is “dreadful.” Psalm 4:4 says we are to “stand in awe” before Him. In Exodus 33:20 God declares that “no man can see me and live.” Leviticus 10:1-2 tells of two men who profaned the altar of sacrifice and died. A man named Uzzah mishandled the Ark of the Covenant and was struck dead according to 2 Samuel 6:6-7.
The idea should be clear. God is to be held in the highest regard in our lives. There are over 300 references in Scripture that tells us God is to be “feared.” We often unduly attempt to soften that word by saying it means to reverence or respect God. But something dangerous is happening to us if we fail to understand “fear” as a deep sense of awe before God. We fear God not as a tormentor, not because He is a Cosmic “meanie”, or because He might treat us unfairly. We hold Him in the highest light, we want to please Him and we want to honor Him, just because He is glorious and majestic.
While we are invited to think of Him as a Father (Abba/Dad), He is at the same time the Creator and Judge of all things. We can come before Him with boldness, and experience His abundant life ( Hebrew 4:16, John 10:10), yet we must always remember that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Yes, coming to God can bring us comfort. However, sometimes entering His presence so overwhelms us that we are made uncomfortable, and should be. We are often more scared of the idea of fear, than we fear what is sacred. Never waltz unprepared into God’s presence. Come before Him with humility. Make sure to magnify His greatness with your speech and guard His reputation in your life. Sometimes sacred things should cause holy dread in us.
Stewart B. Simms, Jr.