The Grandeur of Almighty God

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The Grandeur of Almighty God

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". . . Thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity . . ." (Isaiah 57:15 Isaiah 57:15For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
American King James Version×
).

In this ungodly, secular age many people—even professing Christians—seem to have lost sight of the divine majesty of God. Many behave with unrecognized shallowness and irreverence, lacking respect for our Creator. It seems His name is uttered more often in profanity than in respect.

But what about those who have glimpsed the majesty of God? How have they reacted? Scripture shows that their response has nearly always been one of profound humility. When the prophets of the Old Testament scriptures and the apostles of the New Testament experienced God, to a man they saw themselves as utterly inadequate in comparison.

Close encounters with the divine

The patriarch Job, for example, became acutely aware of his own profound lack of understanding when God revealed to him some aspects of the magnificence of His creation (Job 38-41). Job's humble reaction was immediate: "Then Job answered the Lord and said: 'I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You...I have uttered what I did not understand...Listen, please, and let me speak...I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes'" (Job 42:1-6 Job 42:1-6 [1] Then Job answered the LORD, and said, [2] I know that you can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from you. [3] Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. [4] Hear, I beseech you, and I will speak: I will demand of you, and declare you to me. [5] I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. [6] Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
American King James Version×
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When Moses first met with God at the burning bush, he "hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God" (Exodus 3:6 Exodus 3:6Moreover he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God.
American King James Version×
). In Joshua's encounter with the divine, he "fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, 'What does my Lord say to His servant?'" (Joshua 5:14 Joshua 5:14And he said, No; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, What said my Lord to his servant?
American King James Version×
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In vision Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne amid the angelic host (Isaiah 6:1-4 Isaiah 6:1-4 [1] In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. [2] Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. [3] And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. [4] And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
American King James Version×
). The prophet immediately reacted by lamenting, "Woe is me...because I am a man of unclean lips,...for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5 Isaiah 6:5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
American King James Version×
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When Ezekiel saw "the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord," he, like Joshua and many others, fell down on his face (Ezekiel 1:28 Ezekiel 1:28As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.
American King James Version×
). Experiencing firsthand the revealed majesty of God's splendor instantly humbled these prophets and patriarchs of old. Theirs were dramatic, life-changing experiences.

The New Testament reveals the great God of the universe in the person of Jesus Christ. On the momentous occasions when Christ's disciples caught a glimpse of God's majestic powers as revealed through Jesus' miracles, their reactions reflected an awesome encounter with an unseen and powerful world far different from ours.

On one occasion Peter and the others had caught nothing after an entire night of fishing. Yet when Christ told them to drop their nets in a different spot, they suddenly caught so many fish that their nets began to break and their boats started to sink (Luke 5:4-7 Luke 5:4-7 [4] Now when he had left speaking, he said to Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. [5] And Simon answering said to him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at your word I will let down the net. [6] And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net broke. [7] And they beckoned to their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
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Peter was overwhelmed. "He fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!'" (Luke 5:8 Luke 5:8When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
American King James Version×
, New Revised Standard Version).

Later, Peter—along with James and John—briefly witnessed a preview of eternal life in the Kingdom of God. God afforded them the marvelous opportunity to see a vision of Christ transfigured in glory with Elijah and Moses. When they heard a voice from heaven, they reacted by falling on their faces. They were "greatly afraid" (Matthew 17:6 Matthew 17:6And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
American King James Version×
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Many years later, when the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, he reacted to his vision of the resurrected, glorified Christ by falling "at His feet as though dead" (Revelation 1:17 Revelation 1:17And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

At one point in his ministry, the apostle Paul reported that in vision he "was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat" (2 Corinthians 12:4 2 Corinthians 12:4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
American King James Version×
, NRSV). He, too, was filled with awe.

Understanding the natural human reaction to such circumstances, God often encouraged His servants to not be afraid. Each of these men glimpsed the glory of God and was awestruck by His grandeur.

Our thoughts of God

Do we perceive God as these men did? Do we realize with Solomon that we dwell on earth while God is in heaven (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 [1] Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. [2] Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and you on earth: therefore let your words be few.
American King James Version×
) and that we should pay proper respect to God, speaking His name with dignity, realizing that He knows exactly what we do and that He will ultimately hold us accountable? (2 Corinthians 5:9-10 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 [9] Why we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.
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Do we have the apostle Paul's attitude when he described the Lord to the young evangelist Timothy? "... He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power" (1 Timothy 6:15-16 1 Timothy 6:15-16 [15] Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; [16] Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

The awesome glory of God the Father and Jesus Christ far exceed anything we can even imagine. Realizing this should lead us to a profound sense of wonder and humility!