Have you ever considered the term “the fear of the Lord”? What kind of emotions does it invoke? I’ve been in just a few situations in my life where I witnessed the awesome power of God through natural events. I’ve lived through a couple minor earthquakes, have danced in the midst of a sandstorm, and stood just a few feet away from the precipice of Niagara Falls. This is nothing compared to the absolutely awesome power and glory of God.
Usually we define the fear of God as a “reverence” or “a healthy respect” for who God is. Psalm 97 reveals a little more than that. I mean, think about it. When an angel of the Lord appears before a human being, the human falls on their face in fear for his or her life! The angel only reflects a portion of God’s glory. It’s like saying, “my, the moon is shining bright tonight.” The full glory and awesome presence of the Lord Almighty would disintegrate us before we could even recognize who He was before us.
Verses 2-5 paint a glorious picture of awesomeness that I’m sure doesn’t even truly describe how awesome truly is. We get a similar description of God’s glory in passages like Revelation 19:11-17 and Isaiah 6:1-5. The awesomeness of God is incomparable. In Philippians the Apostle Paul reminds his readers that one day, every knee will bow whether they want to or not in sheer awe and reverence as God’s glory is fully revealed to us. Until then, we have the choice to do so. To recognize who He really is isn’t just an invitation, but a privilege He allows us to enjoy before His wrath is released upon the earth. The second half of Psalm 97 encourages us to do this!
Although the Lord is great and fearsome, He is loving, patient, and kind to us. Not only is He the creator God who has dominion over all things, but He wants a relationship with us so we can glory safely in His majesty. His salvation for us is not about a power play to establish His authority over us or a manipulation to get us to do what He wants us to do. It’s His grace and mercy so that we can actually see His face! We can not only survive His presence, but revel in it! When we talk about “how great is our God” let us not only think about His absolute power but also His overwhelming love for us. He wants us to enjoy (i.e. be filled with joy) a relationship with Him. Did you know that we don’t have to wait to do that? We can revel in our relationship with Him today…right now!
Take a moment to revel in His absolute goodness toward us.