1 Chronicles 16:28-34 (click here)
…Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth… (1 Chronicles 16:29b-30a)
Some people love scary movies. I am not one of those people.
Yet, I get where they are coming from. I mean… we all have things we love that cause a type of fear to be stirred up within us.
Some people love to meet celebrities, even though it makes their heart pound so hard they think it will come out of their chest, and they end up saying foolish things… that is if they are able to speak at all.
Some people love the thrill of a roller coaster (I am one of these people). Even the anxiety caused by waiting in line or the initial climb is part of what makes these rides so much fun.
Others love even riskier forms of entertainment like sky-diving (bunch of crazies). But I think you get my point… all of us love things that simultaneously cause a type of fear within us.
For this reason, I have often been perplexed as to why so many people have trouble combining “loving the Lord” with “fearing the Lord.” If we truly see God for who he is in the splendor of his holiness, then both of these reactions make complete sense! In fact, I would suggest that if we do not feel both love and fear towards the Lord then we haven’t truly grasped the splendor of his holiness.
First… love. We worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. In other words, we adore him when we see him for who he is. He is what our heart has always been searching for! Everywhere we look for satisfaction is evidence of our search and longing for the only one that can satisfy… God. He alone is perfect, holy… and therefore, he alone can perfectly satisfy your heart with his splendor. We LOVE the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
Second… fear. We tremble before the splendor of the Lord’s holiness. He is perfect, and we are not. We deserve nothing from him but rejection and wrath. It’s like his holiness burns brighter than the sun and we find ourselves in the position of Icarus… unable to approach without being consumed. We FEAR the splendor of the Lord’s holiness.
Third… yes… there is a third! Third, the Lord’s love transforms our fear! Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has justified us, made us holy as he is holy! We no longer fear rejection and wrath because Jesus bore all of that on our behalf. Our fear of the Lord is now transformed! It’s no longer a “scary movie” kind of fear… a fear of the awful. No. It’s a celebrity, roller-coaster, sky-diving kind of fear… a fear of awe! We have the thrill of drawing near to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
O, we still tremble before him, but not because we fear something awful, but because we are “fearfully” in awe of the one we love. We adore the Lord in the splendor of his holiness and we tremble before him!