02.04.21—An Awesome God – John 2: 17
My friend, may I ask you a question? Does God want us to be afraid of Him? Or, does God want us to just be comfortable with a “grandfatherly” image?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I’m M. Clifford Brunner
It’s funny the way many people picture God. In a recent national survey, the description of God most often selected by those polled was not a “father in heaven” but a “grandfather in heaven.” In a way it’s wishful thinking, isn’t it? If God is a senile, benevolent “old man” who, as many feel, “likes to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all,” we’d have nothing to fear about the lives we lead, since God, the kindly grandfather, would never be so unkind as to hold us to a higher standard of behavior or expect us to deny ourselves. That would be too scary an image of God for most folks.
Does God want us to be afraid of Him? Or, does God want us to just be comfortable with a “grandfatherly” image?
David McCullough tells this story about a young Teddy Roosevelt: “Mittie (his mother) had found he was so afraid of the Madison Square Church that he refused to set foot inside it alone. He was terrified, she discovered, of something called the ‘zeal.’ It was crouched in the dark corners of the church ready to jump at him, he said. When she asked what a zeal might be, he said he wasn’t sure, but thought it was probably a large animal like an alligator or a dragon. He had heard the minister read about if from the Bible. Using a concordance, she read him those passages containing the word ZEAL until suddenly, very excited, he told her to stop. The line was from the Book of John, 2:17: ‘His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” Little Teddy was afraid of being eaten. (David McCullough.)
People are still justifiably afraid to come near the “zeal” of the Lord, for they are perfectly aware it could “eat them up” if they aren’t one of His. God is good, but He isn’t safe. God is no grandfather, with nothing more to give than a pat on the head and a chuckle when we do wrong. No, God is our Father. As such, He deserves our respect and our awe. That doesn’t mean that you or I need to be afraid because of God. As His children, He will go to great lengths to protect us from the world and from ourselves. But for those who don’t know Him as their father, who may only see Him as a kind- ly, benevolent old man, it might be wise to check out the shadows, His “zeal” may be waiting there to swallow them up.
We pray. Heavenly Father. Sometimes we are afraid to come near the “zeal” of You, our Lord, for we are perfectly aware You could “eat us up” if we aren’t one of Yours. You are good, but are You safe? We know that you are no grandfather, with nothing more to give than a pat on the head and a chuckle when we do wrong. No, You are our Father. As such, You deserve our respect and our awe. That doesn’t mean that we need to be afraid because of You. As Your children, we know You will go to great lengths to protect us from the world and from ourselves. Forgive us when we forget this, and when we only see You as a kindly, benevolent old man. Lord, it might be wise to check out the shadows where Your “zeal” may be waiting to swallow up the ungodly. Shield us from that unbelief. Hold us in Your awesome arms. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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