I Have Seen the LORD

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,

As I was studying this morning and meditating on God's word, the Holy Spirit was so gracious to take me to the Scriptures where God our Father reveals Himself to us in His deity, His holiness, His sovereignty, righteousness and matchless nature; and how every person who has "seen" God in His majesty responds. They are all different people, but all have the same reaction from being in His holy presence: humility and fear.

"Thus says the LORD:
Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."
~ Jeremiah 9:23-24

If I may, I'd like to share these Scriptures with you so that our hearts might be united to fear (revere) His holy name and worship our awesome and incomparable God in the splendor of His glory (Psalm 86:11, Psalm 29:1-2). I pray that God will give all His children discerning and wise hearts; so much so, that we will not entertain thoughts of God in ways He never reveals Himself to all mankind; that is, through His living word.

"It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such a contemplation to look into himself."
- John Calvin

Below are some of the accounts in Scripture where people have been in the presence of the LORD God Almighty and their reaction, not only towards God, but also towards themselves (their true selves); in the light of God's holiness we can't help but clearly see our putrid depravity.

Genesis 32:30
"So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, 'For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.' "

Exodus 20:18-20
"Now when all the people saw the thunder and flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, 'You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.' Moses said to the people, 'Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.' "

In human philosophies, God's righteous and merciful statement in Exodus 20:20, doesn't make much sense. We don't hear this in the world, nor in churches any more: That if we fear God, we will love Him all the more and obey Him. According to God's word, the "fear of God" is clearly a gift and not something to be avoided or replaced with something a bit more warm and fuzzy that makes our flesh "feel" good (Proverbs 1:7). But we continue to see this in today's society and sadly in our churches as well. Often we will hear people refer to God in ways that is more appeasing to the human ear while desensitizing our spirits to the holiness of God's nature and at the same time, feeding our pride; then we wonder why our churches our filled with rampant sin - just as it is outside the church. This seems to be a dangerous road we've wandered off to and would be wise to quickly leave it.

Judges 6:22-23
"Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, 'Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.' But the LORD said to him, 'Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.' "

Isaiah 6:5
"And I said; 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!' "

Luke 1:11-12
"And there appeared to him [Zechariah] an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.' "

In this account, Zechariah, has the same reaction to seeing God or even a servant of God (an angel) in the proper way others before him responded. But then, after Gabriel comforts Zechariah and let's him know that he was not sent by God to destroy him, but to bless him, Zechariah gets a bit too familiar, a bit too comfortable and therefore is reminded that he is merely a man and talking back to an angel of God is a dangerous and foolish thing.

Luke 1:19-20
"And the angel answered him, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.' "

At this time, it would've greatly benefited Zechariah to have remembered the word of God spoken through King Solomon:

"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few."

Luke 1:28-30
"And he [Gabriel] came to her [Mary] and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.' "

In contrast, we see Mary responds differently than Zechariah when Gabriel assures her not to be afraid, because he has been sent by God to bless her with good news. Instead of letting her pride rise within her so that she would sin like Zechariah and dare to become too "chummy" with an angel of the Lord, she humbles herself as she perceives herself as she truly is - a lowly servant in the sight of a holy God .

This reminds me of a time several years ago, when my oldest son purchased himself a t-shirt while at church camp. The shirt was very plain. It was black and had white writing on it that simply, yet profoundly stated: "Jesus is NOT my homeboy. He is God." My son bought this shirt because at the time, many teens his age (that is, professing born-again believers) were sadly duped into wearing t-shirts that boasted about their intimacy with God. These t-shirts said: "Jesus is my homeboy." Our oldest son considered this statement to be extremely irreverent and was very sad for those who had fallen into the deception that God is our "buddy". Purchasing the t-shirt, which he wore very proudly, was his silent way of revealing God's truth about His own character; God is holy and alone is worthy of the utmost honor and glory.

Jesus Himself when He spoke of His resurrection said, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself." As only Jesus has the power to raise Himself from the dead, since He is God. Jesus did not say, "And if you bring me down to your level, your understanding, your comfort, I will draw all people to a more intimate relationship with me." As a matter of fact, we clearly see here in the Scripture below what God says about such things:

"But the righteousness based on faith says, 'Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend in to heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down) or 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)."
~ Romans 10:6-7

It is very clear in God's word, that the "fear of God" is what proves how intimate someone truly is in their relationship with Him. Nowhere in Scripture is it revealed that "chumminess" with God produces intimacy. And nowhere is Scripture do we ever witness God sharing His "secrets" with those who do not fear Him and approach Him with irreverence as if He were their buddy or pal. I will close with these Scriptures:

"The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant [secret counsel]."
~ Psalm 25:14

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
I am thankful to the Lord for giving me this time with you as we unite our hearts to fear the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 86:11); rejoicing together by the power of His Holy Spirit as we meditate on the greatness of our God, who makes Himself known to us by the revelation of His word. The more we read God's word, the more easily can we discern His voice as He daily directs us in His righteousness.

Tomorrow, I will share Scriptures that reveal the nature of the God-head, the holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the hierarchy of their relationship.