Saturday, 12 March 2011

Fear God and give Him Glory

Yesterday as I awoke to the unbelievable pictures from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, I realised that we were not simply watching pictures demonstrating the awesome power of nature and man’s complete helplessness in the wake of that power. We were witnessing the hand of Almighty God at work, shaking the peoples of the earth from their complacency, in order to bring them to repentance towards Him.

Almighty God had suddenly become much more Almighty, and it put the fear of God into me. As I prayed, I realised I was feeling exactly the same as I’d felt a few months ago as I struggled with the Glory of God. Then, I was overcome by the searing brilliant light of God’s Holiness and my inability to stand before Him. In the presence of His Awesome nature, His complete and utter Goodness, my sin was all too apparent. All my instincts were crying out to me to run and hide to save myself (where to? Where can I flee from Your Spirit?) – and yet from out of that Holiness my Heavenly Father was calling to me to come to Him, gently reassuring me that in Christ my sins were forgiven and I was able to approach Him, with confidence, in Christ, my conscience now cleansed, a new creation. I’m still not sure I’ve entirely recovered from this. I’m not sure I want to recover from this. I pray the stunning good news of the Gospel message is something I never get used to.

I felt exactly the same yesterday. Seeing Almighty God at work in the world in such a powerful way, bringing man up short to realise he is but dust, to focus his attention on things eternal, his need of a Saviour before a Holy God, put the fear of God into me.

I began to wonder whether the events in Japan were, in fact, a demonstration of the Glory of God. And as I read my Bible last night, I came across this passage:

“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Rev 14:6-7)

Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Have we come to the hour of His judgment? I don’t know. I do see shaking of the nations, political and economic turmoil. And I see a merciful God who continues to give man every opportunity to repent and believe, as shown by the angel who has the eternal gospel to proclaim to every nation, tribe, language and people. I see mercy and judgment working together. Tozer clarified this for me this week: “Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does” (The Knowledge of the Holy). The attributes of God are not vying against one another as some would have us believe, with love trumping justice, for example. No clearer example exists of mercy and judgement working together than at the cross, where the judgment of a Holy God against sin was satisfied by the death of His Beloved Son, enabling mercy to be shown to sinners like you and me.

God’s mercy and judgment acting together. Provoking a response of fear. Resulting in Glory to God and worship and praise of His Name.

May God indeed have mercy on us all.


  1. Awesome post Diana! I am always so blessed by how you process everything through the filter of Scripture. Yes -- mercy and judgement resulting in our complete and total reverence of Him.

    I've also been thinking about this devastation in Japan and the massive amount of human suffering that is going on right now -- even as I write this. It's almost more than I can bear. And of course, coming off the heels of all my studying on Total Depravity I see so much of it (maybe all of it!) in light of The Fall and how all of creation was subject to this groaning and travailing (Rom 8:22). I bless God for the hope that we have -- the suffering is so great. It's unspeakable. Yet, our hope is in Christ who has delivered us and who will one day wipe every tear from our eye. Indeed our redemption drawn nigh!

    God bless you for your godly reflections, your heart for God, and for being my friend & sister!

    Love you dearly.

  2. Great post, Diana! God's holiness, judgment, mercy and grace have been flooding my mind too, as have the state of man and his surroundings since the fall. I'm reminded that all good things are a gift of God, and that even all the bad He controls and works for His purpose... So much to pray for and so much to praise Him for even in light of all this suffering!! Love and blessings!

  3. Diana your post really hits home with me in a personal way right now too. I work in an environment where I often feel like I really cannot trust very many people. We have had one theft after another, and a long time employee who is now suing of the few people I thought I trusted somewhat. I sat today thinking about what happened in Japan, and the fallen state of our fellow's so obvious to me that Jesus Christ is the answer but many others are blind to that fact. I pray that God can use this horrific situation to do just what you said...wake up and realize God is in control, and that no amount of personal effort can change anything. He can wipe out all your vain efforts in one huge wave of his hand. Eternity should be heavy on hearts and minds right now, thank you for this post my friend, this one like all of your others makes me hunger for God's word, what a wonderful blessing you are!

  4. Diana,

    This post is a reflection of the work God has done in you--you see Him as He is, in all His glory, at once majestic, powerful, merciful. It is astounding!

    "I pray the stunning good news of the Gospel message is something I never get used to."

    Amen. By those words, it's as though I see you at His feet, beholding Him--and in fact, that is what you are doing.

    Like so many, I've found the devastation in Japan difficult to grasp in my flesh--everything from viewing the pictures, imagining the scope of loss, and understanding only a little the aftermath from listening to the seismologists' reports.

    But when the events are framed by the blazing glory of God, such as you have expressed in a spirit of reverent submission and worship, I'm brought to my knees.

    Thank you, Diana. I'm blessed by your words.


  5. Hi Christina - isn't it amazing how each doctrine of the Truth about God and man adds to all we see in the world around us? Shows how necessary it is to have an understanding of the Whole Counsel of God. I would love to be part of your Bible Study group :) Hope all goes well with that, God bless you.

    Hi Petra - such a comfort to know God is Sovereign, and yes, when we understand His Holiness, judgment, mercy and grace, we know we can trust Him to work all things according to His good purposes. Thank you and God bless you!

    Dear Teresa - "Eternity should be heavy on hearts and minds right now". Mmm. I was watching a rugby game this afternoon with the family (the "proper" version of American football ;) ) and I was just thinking what's the point of this? It just seems surreal in the light of what God is doing. As for God wiping out all our efforts with one huge wave of his hand - I was listening to one news reporter saying people had said the earthquake was like someone was holding Japan in their hand and was rolling their hand around. I wanted to shout out at the TV "Yes, it's God's hand!" So many people keep talking about the power of Mother Nature - no-one is talking about the power of Father God. Bless you for your encouragement, Teresa. Love you.

    Dear Elizabeth - you said "I'm brought to my knees". In which case, I am just so thankful to have been able to return the blessing to you, for it was so many of your posts on Facebook last year about the Glory of God which brought me to my knees and propelled me to struggle with God to understand His Glory from a Biblical perspective. I thank God for your wisdom and understanding. Love you.

  6. "No clearer example exists of mercy and judgement working together than at the cross, where the judgment of a Holy God against sin was satisfied by the death of His Beloved Son, enabling mercy to be shown to sinners like you and me."

    What a beautifully put statement Diana.
    God bless you!