One of contemporary Christian music’s early stars, Barry McGuire told the following story on his 1975 album To the Bride. One day, while touring northern California, one of the members was reading the Bible and getting all excited. “Ohhh! Man!” Barry asked, “what’s going on there?” He replied, “Oh, oh, look, look here man.” Barry asked, “what are you reading?” He replied, “Oh, Genesis.” Barry asked, what’s happening?” Well God just created the world, that’s what’ happening!” I thought of this story the other day when my oldest son told me he read Psalm 22 and then Isaiah 53 that afternoon. He said, “it was cool!” I was thrilled to know that my son had the same type of awe for God that guy did almost 30 years ago.
The Bible records several circumstances when someone is in extreme awe of God; Abraham after God supplied the ram as a substitute sacrifice for his son Issac; Moses, when God told him to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (in other words, he was in the very presence of God); The Israelites after God led them across the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptian army; and God’s people when God sent fire to consume the sacrifice, the altar, and the water on and around the altar when Elijah asked God to prove he was indeed God and that the gods Baal and Asherah did not exist. how about Peter, James, and John when they witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration; the two on the road to Emmaus when they realized Jesus had been with them and he was alive, again; John when he witnessed the revelation Jesus gave him to show the followers of Christ that God is in control and that they should simply remain faithful to the end, no matter what.
I sometimes wonder if every person should have what I call a “mountain top experience” with God where they come into his presence in the same ways that we read about in Scripture. It would be cool, yes, but it is unnecessary. God has given us his revelation. He has given us everything he intends to until he gives the final revelation, the return of Jesus. It is all found in the Bible. Our awe for God is found in his creation and in his revelation. Creation points to the maker. In the Bible, which is God’s full revelation, he reveals himself to us. The most vivid picture, the most perfect presentation is found in Jesus. “For he is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation” Colossians 1:15. There have been many beautiful songs which approach God with a sense of awe, like my son and the dude from 30 years ago, God of Wonders, LIke God Above, and others. Do you stand in awe of God? All of creation and all of Scripture declare his glory.
This first appeared in the May 15, 2002 LaPlata Home Press