Majestic and Holy

Reading: Psalm 93
A tribal chief was listening with avid interest while a Christian missionary explained about Jesus.

He listened to the teaching, enjoyed the miracles and was troubled that the officials rejected Jesus and conspired to put him to death.

The missionary went on to assure him that this wasnít the end of the story. Although Jesus had truly died, he came alive again on the third day.

At this the chief became very agitated. He thought of the many enemies he had killed. He treasured his collection of their skulls. "No!" he said, "It cannot be! The dead must not rise!"

In too many situations of life we assume that we have the final word - we reckon without God. But the Scriptures tell us that "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Heb. 9.27). God has the final word - he is the Judge!

Psalm 93 tells us a number of important things about God. He "reigns". In other words, he is the true and ultimate ruler over everything, the final authority.

For the good ordering of society, we have many people who govern over us, making rules that regulate our lives in many ways. Society cannot operate otherwise. These rulers can be good, mediocre, ineffective or corrupt. In some countries, they hold tenure for life. In others, like ours, we vote periodically to elect who will rule over us.

The best human rulers acknowledge that they exercise delegated authority - that there is one who is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 17.14).

The Lord is "robed in majesty and armed with strength".

Many public buildings have a photo of Queen Elizabeth II "robed in majesty". The robes are kept for special occasions to signify a greatness that separates her from ordinary people. Mostly, however, she wears good street clothes and wants people to know her as a mother and grandmother - not just as "queen". Underneath all the pomp and ceremony, she is really just another human being like the rest of us after all.

But the Lord is utterly majestic and infinitely greater than we are. His throne "was established long ago". He has been "from all eternity".

He is the Creator - "the world is firmly established", "the seas have lifted up their voice". But when we have seen the most impressive sight on earth, donít forget - "the Lord on high is mighty"!

Donít forget either what all this says about our lifestyle - "Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord".

Any human leader we care to name is finally accountable to God. All of us "ordinary people" are accountable to God. God is holy. He is the standard of holiness. He expects holiness.

Now that gives us a real problem. If God is "majestic", how can we ever approach him? If God is "holy", how can sinners dare to come near him?

We have the answer to both these questions in the coming of Jesus, the Son of God. When he came to live among us, he emptied himself of that heavenly majesty. He lived with all the restrictions the rest of us have to face. He has come close to us. Then he died on the cross so that sinners can be forgiven, can be welcomed into Godís family, can begin to live a whole new kind of life.

Protocol dictates our behaviour in the presence of earthly majesty. We are required to stand. We must bow or curtsy. We mustnít turn our backs to her. We have to address her "Maíam".

The Lord is majestic and holy. He is also our heavenly Father. He stands to welcome us - though we are unworthy sinners. He calls us by name. He stands at the door and knocks - not forcing himself on us, but wanting and waiting for our response, our invitation for him to come in and share life with us.

Incredible but true! And we are fools if we donít welcome him and receive him into our lives!

Prayer: Dear God, we have thought you must be remote and distant - too great for the likes of us, too good for us too! Then in Jesus you came into human history, to live on this earth. You humbled yourself and became one of us - ate our food, became tired, got dirt under your finger-nails - just like us! We didnít understand the love that brought you here, felt uncomfortable in your presence, thought to get you out of here, away from the life of this world altogether. But you came for us - to bring us life and hope and a new beginning! Thank you, Lord! Amen.

He Came for Us

beyond imagining
from all eternity,
God the Son,
one with the Father
and the Holy Spirit,
made through him,
that had flung
and stars
and suns
into space.

Holiness and purity,
and judge
of right and wrong.

Love and humility
beyond imagining,
he came,
one of us,
always loving,

He died,
gave himself.
He lives,
gives himself
to forgive
and comfort
and lead us

© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin BlueCare Devotions, 29 July 2003.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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