The Fearsome Presence of God
God teaches His people repeatedly that He is both fearsome and trustworthy. Will we ever learn that though awesome He is for us who know Him through Christ?
And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the Lord, shall die. Are we all to perish?” Numbers 17:12-13
For they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Mark 6:50
As we have seen, God who created all things also maintains constant contact with His creation and with His creatures whether they are conscious of Him or not. In both biblical history as well as my personal experience, it is evident that we easily forget that God is there all the time every day. We grow comfortable with attitudes of pride and acts of presumption as if there were no God to whom we must answer. We turn to our own resources to solve our problems rather than seeking His guidance and power.
Korah and his party in the wilderness rebelled against God’s appointed leader Moses. They had time to repent but no inclination to do so. They died an horrific death. Then God gave them another sign of His choice of Aaron to head the priesthood by making Aaron’s staff to bud as the staffs of the other tribes remained dry sticks.
The people of Israel recognized that they were “undone” and that they were all in danger of perishing for their persistent rebellion. God revealed His presence and taught them to fear Him.
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they were terrified. The Lord immediately reassured them that it was Him. God again revealed His presence and taught the disciples to fear Him but also to trust Him.
Think about it
The lesson of God’s fearsome presence is one that the Israelites and the disciples would have to re-learn. I suspect that you and I will have to re-learn it too. Yet we who know Christ have assurance and comfort that we are God’s own adopted children and that He is merciful and gracious to us.
Be aware of God’s presence in your life today. He is fearsome, but He is on our side (Romans 8:31). Thank Him for His patience with us who must re-learn these lessons.