I think we have gone too far in the taming of our God, to make him appear more attractive, more salable among the cavorting nations. We have removed the bite from the Lion, or, I should say, we tried. At what point did we realize that the way of holiness was unattractive to the masses? When was that moment that we decided a benevolent Santa Claus type figure would be more acceptable? Who was the marketer that decided it was wiser to leave people happy in their sin in the pews than uncomfortably convicted at the Mercy Seat? I realize I am being harsh but I am being harsh on people like me: The Preachers.
Our God is not tame; far from it. However, he is kind, loving, forgiving and his desire is to see everyone saved from their intended destination of destruction. This does not diminish his glory; his righteousness; his holiness. Just because he reaches out in compassion to adopt us as his children does not take away from his glory:
Clouds and darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. (v. 2)
I don't think we preachers have done a very good job of telling people that a mark of accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord is change. We die to what we were. That is how our bondage to sin is broken. Then we are raised in our new life in Jesus, and he in us. It is true that all our sin is forgiven but it also means we are called to his righteousness. It is the foundation of his throne as it becomes the foundation of our lives. It means that we no longer desire sin, or self or anything but the will of the Father. Any other form of Christianity is a lie. Anything that allows you to remain in sin and your desire for sin and self is a lie. Remember that justice is also the foundation of his throne and all those who live by sin instead of the Spirit are his enemies:
A fire goes before Him,
And burns up His enemies round about. (v. 3)
Not so tame.
We need a better vision of Yahweh, a better understanding so that we know that we do not want to fall into the hands of the living God; not his hands of justice:
His lightnings light the world;
The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory. (vv. 4-6)
We should fear to sin. We should fear to fall out of his grace. We should fear to offend our God. We should never take his grace for granted. We should never abuse his love. We should never try to manipulate his kindness and desire for us to our selfish advantage. We should desire to flee hard and fast from even any hint of sin, not use grace as an excuse to flirt with it or even to flaunt it. If we are saved we should have a longing for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It should be our desire and when we fail, repentance should be our quick response.
Let all be put to shame who serve carved images,
Who boast of idols. (v. 7)
Indeed, let us feel the shame of our prostitution to the idols of this age. Let us feel deeply the shame and guilt of what we do against the Name above all names. Let us stop playing games with grace and get serious about loving our God. Let us throw off everything that entangles and ensnares our hearts and be thoroughly cleansed and set right in our service to our King. Let us discover again our fear of the Lord, the great respect that is due him and get up on his Highway of Holiness. Let us pursue him with all that we are and trust him to preserve us until the day of his return.
You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. (vv. 10-12)
Indeed, REPENT! REJOICE! GIVE THANKS! REMEMBER!