Friday, 18 March 2011


“Open my eyes to see You, Lord”, this has long been my heart's cry,
To see You blazing in Your Glory, exalted o’er the heavens above;
I thought the clearer I saw You, I’d feel warmth and glow inside,
Instead I’ve been laid low before You, undone by Holy Love.

You spoke and then the earth shook open, trembling at Your Holy Word,
And then You called for the sea’s waters, poured them out onto the land;
I saw Your Glory so brightly, as Your judgement began to fall -
I fell onto my face before You, undone by Righteous Hands.

No man can stand before Your gaze, O Almighty, Sovereign Lord,
We are naked, sinful, wretched, exposed in our guilt and shame;
But then You gently said “O child, your Heavenly Father I remain”,
I bowed still lower before Jesus, undone - He took my blame.

Your mercy's beyond comprehension, even now as nations shake,
Today's the day of our salvation, Sovereign Lord, open eyes to see;
Give me grace to preach with boldness the gospel You’ve poured into me,
I’m ready Lord, for now I'm broken, undone, emptied of me.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Fear God and give Him Glory

Yesterday as I awoke to the unbelievable pictures from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, I realised that we were not simply watching pictures demonstrating the awesome power of nature and man’s complete helplessness in the wake of that power. We were witnessing the hand of Almighty God at work, shaking the peoples of the earth from their complacency, in order to bring them to repentance towards Him.

Almighty God had suddenly become much more Almighty, and it put the fear of God into me. As I prayed, I realised I was feeling exactly the same as I’d felt a few months ago as I struggled with the Glory of God. Then, I was overcome by the searing brilliant light of God’s Holiness and my inability to stand before Him. In the presence of His Awesome nature, His complete and utter Goodness, my sin was all too apparent. All my instincts were crying out to me to run and hide to save myself (where to? Where can I flee from Your Spirit?) – and yet from out of that Holiness my Heavenly Father was calling to me to come to Him, gently reassuring me that in Christ my sins were forgiven and I was able to approach Him, with confidence, in Christ, my conscience now cleansed, a new creation. I’m still not sure I’ve entirely recovered from this. I’m not sure I want to recover from this. I pray the stunning good news of the Gospel message is something I never get used to.

I felt exactly the same yesterday. Seeing Almighty God at work in the world in such a powerful way, bringing man up short to realise he is but dust, to focus his attention on things eternal, his need of a Saviour before a Holy God, put the fear of God into me.

I began to wonder whether the events in Japan were, in fact, a demonstration of the Glory of God. And as I read my Bible last night, I came across this passage:

“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Rev 14:6-7)

Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Have we come to the hour of His judgment? I don’t know. I do see shaking of the nations, political and economic turmoil. And I see a merciful God who continues to give man every opportunity to repent and believe, as shown by the angel who has the eternal gospel to proclaim to every nation, tribe, language and people. I see mercy and judgment working together. Tozer clarified this for me this week: “Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does” (The Knowledge of the Holy). The attributes of God are not vying against one another as some would have us believe, with love trumping justice, for example. No clearer example exists of mercy and judgement working together than at the cross, where the judgment of a Holy God against sin was satisfied by the death of His Beloved Son, enabling mercy to be shown to sinners like you and me.

God’s mercy and judgment acting together. Provoking a response of fear. Resulting in Glory to God and worship and praise of His Name.

May God indeed have mercy on us all.