Fear in His Presence

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” says the beginning of Proverbs. I have thought over this verse and what it means to fear God. I had a shirt in high school that read ‘Real Men Fear Jesus” across the back in large letters. Mr. Dralle, my Geography teacher challenged me “Josh, why should we fear Jesus? Isn’t that a negative feeling?”. Even then I understood that fear in this sense was a respectful, awe inspiring fear. Since then I have come across the passage many times and have pondered it in different ways.

Today I reflected on the concept of the fear of God yet another way. Closing my eyes and putting myself in the very presence of Father God I was bombarded by a flood or emotions. The first was embarrassment and shame. It was very much like being invited to the large mansion of a prominent and powerful person, making your way into their living room expecting them to happily greet you and then following their gaze to realize you had not only trampled through their flower garden but also tracked mud into the house and all over the white carpet. My lifetime of offenses against God are too numerous and varied to ever begin to list, but one was suddenly illuminated causing me to feel this way. It was my manifold wanton treatment of the wise and loving Maker’s creation. This spans from the small, seemingly innocent actions every day to the large overtly evil things I willingly do. To stay specific though, it really was the small things I suddenly felt like “tucking my tail” about.

The Father, before me stands with such presence, His figurative “stature” dwarfs me. Suddenly I see in his large, timelessly weathered hands the actual scars, the callouses caused by laying the foundations of Earth that I find my self so selfishly and defiantly standing on. Deep down in my subconscious (though I fight it) I pride myself on being one of His children, one of faith, one who gives credit of my existence to Him. But now, in this illumination I can see I, as much as anyone, have trampled his garden and muddied his white carpet. Specifically today, He points out to me that I drove 10 miles through a landscape that He planned, brought forth from nothing, grew and sustained without even batting an eye. In short I took what He made for granted. At the heart of my own longing for relationship and my animosity toward isolation in loneliness lies a largely unmet desire for others to deeply know me and then I, knowing my God wants (and infinitely more deserves) my interest in Him and all that he is, ignore the rhythmic sustaining of life, the incalculable complexity of construction  all around me.

These are among the smaller offenses I bring into His presence, but when I fully come to terms with them, I am left trembling, head bowed and fall to my knees begging for mercy.

I love this song by Johnny Cash, it fits this state I was in:

The Man Comes Around ~ Johnny Cash

There’s a man going around taking names

And he decides who to free and who to blame

Everybody won’t be treated all the same

There’ll be a golden ladder reaching down

When the Man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up

At the terror in each sip and in each sup

Will you partake of that last offered cup?

Or disappear into the potter’s ground

When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers

One hundred million angels singing

Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum

Voices calling, voices crying

Some are born and some are dying

It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree

The virgins are all trimming their wicks

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree

It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks

Till Armageddon no shalam, no shalom

Then the father hen will call his chickens home

The wise man will bow down before the throne

And at His feet they’ll cast their golden crowns

When the Man comes around

Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still

Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still

Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still

Listen to the words long written down

When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers

One hundred million angels singing

Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum

Voices calling and voices crying

Some are born and some are dying

It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree

The virgins are all trimming their wicks

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree

It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks

In measured hundred weight and penney pound

When the Man comes around.

Close (Spoken part)

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts

And I looked and behold, a pale horse

And his name that sat on him was Death

And Hell followed with him.

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