Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fashioning God into Our Image: Part One

Read the account in Leviticus 10:1-3.

Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke saying, ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all I must be glorified.’” Leviticus 10:3

“In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.” Psalm 5:7

One of the lessons that we can learn from the story of Nadab and Abihu is that all worship is anchored in a reverence for His presence. He must be feared or reverenced, for God has declared, “You shall...reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:30).

The Psalmist picks up on this in Psalm 15, notice ten things are given to answer the question, “who abide in Your tabernacle and who may dwell in Your holy mountain?” We could summarize this list by saying if we want to approach God we must honor Him and those who fear Him. Our approach to God cannot be on our terms, it must be on His!

He cannot be compared to man or approached in a casual way. Psalm 89:6-7 says, “For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.”

I think it is interesting to see that before the Psalmist speaks of the fear of the Lord, that he mentions the greatness and glory of the God he serves. He first declares the awesome wonders of God, and then he gives the exhortation to fear Him. He wants us to meditate on God’s unfathomable glory! For how can we duly respect and honor Him if we remain unaware of His greatness or why He deserves our reverence!

This very One who is full of greatness and glory came into this world (John 1:1-3, 10-11). He was the very creator of this vast universe, yet His very creation, at least man, turn our backs on Him. We did not recognize the awesome One for who He was, even though there was much religion when He came. Back in Isaiah 29:13 we read, “In as much as these people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me and their fear toward Me is taught by commandments of men.” Here He is saying that the people had reduced the glory of the LORD to the level of mere man! They served God in the image they had created of Him and not in His true image. They worshipped Him by their own standards and not His.

This was true back in Isaiah’s day, but it spoke prophetically of what the Lord Jesus would experience from His own. But it wasn’t only the Jewish nation who did not give Him His proper place. His own disciples did this in Matthew 17:4. Peter suggested making three booths, One for Elijah, one for Moses and one for the Lord Jesus. But we can not bring the Lord down to our level to worship Him! This is what Peter was unknowingly was doing and why God the Father could not allow it! There must be reverence for who He is!

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