The Awesomeness of God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Default article daily reflection

“Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.' "

Exodus 19:12

As the Lord prepared to reveal the full covenant to the Israelites, he warned them to stay away from Mt. Sinai. If any were to touch the mountain, they would die.

When I first read this, I cringed. Why would God want to keep his people away? The answer to this question comes, in part, from the ancient notion of sacredness. People knew that they were not to touch sacred objects. So God’s prohibition about touching the mountain made it dramatically clear that Mt. Sinai was special.

But this is not the whole story, I believe. God made Mt. Sinai out of bounds to underscore his awesome power. This fact was also communicated through stunning natural phenomena: lightning, thunder, clouds, smoke, earthquake. It was as if God was shouting: “I am awesome! I am not to be trifled with!”

I’m glad that God no longer threatens us with death if we were to approach his holy places. But I do think we’ve lost something of God’s awesomeness. For many of us, he is rather like Santa Claus in the mall, a jolly old elf whom we approach when we want him to know what we need. The truth is that we can come before God with bold confidence, laying our concerns before him (Heb. 4:16). But this opportunity becomes even more wonderful and amazing when we realize whom it is we approach, not some Santa in the sky, but the awesome, all-powerful, holy God who revealed himself on Mt. Sinai.

QUESTION FOR REFLECTION: When have you been impressed, perhaps even overwhelmed, by the awesomeness of God?

PRAYER: Holy, mighty, all-powerful God, as I read Exodus 19, I’m reminded of your incomprehensible awesomeness. And I’m also reminded of how readily I forget your majesty and power. Forgive me, Lord, when I treat you as some sort of cosmic Santa Claus, when I approach you with boldness, but also with nonchalance.

Help me to keep your awesomeness in mind even as I draw near to you. When I receive your fatherly embrace, may I realize just how amazing it is to have such a relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. When I come before you in worship, may I come with reverence even as I come with childlike openness.

All praise be to you, mighty, holy, awesome God! Amen.