Saturday, September 11, 2010

Offering Worship

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

28 Διὸ βασιλείαν ἀσάλευτον παραλαμβάνοντες ἔχωμεν χάριν, δι᾽ ἧς λατρεύωμεν εὐαρέστως τῷ θεῷ μετὰ εὐλαβείας καὶ δέους· 29  καὶ γὰρ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν πῦρ καταναλίσκον.

This concludes an incredible chapter.  The author of Hebrews contrasts the experience that the Jews had on Sinai with our experience in Christ.  Sinai was so holy that anyone or anything that touched it had to be stoned.  Yet we can now come to Christ.  We have access to the living God.

Do you realize how incredible this is?  Are you moved in awesome wonder at this truth?  The God of the universe who made everything has given us access to Him through the shed blood of Christ.  This is the God who is sovereign.  All of nature bends to His will.  Have you ever experienced a hurricane?  It only goes where it does because of His will.  Ever been in an earthquake?  Those do not happen apart from His will.  I'm not going into the theology of the effects of natural disasters, but the point is that if you've ever experienced the awesome power of a hurricane or earthquake you have just a tiny sense of how powerful God is.

This is the same God that gives us access to Him through the shed blood of Christ.  And yet we waste our time with trifles like video games, sports, sex, and the pursuit of money (just thinking of my life).  There can certainly be a godliness in recreation time and in fact God mandates it.  However, where are our idols?  Why bother with any of that other junk?

This passage in particular speaks to how we should approach God.  Yes, we have access, but it is not a flippant thing to approach God.  He is a πῦρ καταναλίσκον.  The word καταναλίσκον is a present active participle.  I don't think that we are to literally think of God as a ball of fire like in "The Ten Commandments," but there is a metaphor for how God operates.  Have you ever watched how a fire consumes fuel?  It is unceasing as long as it has fuel.  It just keeps on consuming.

As we approach God we need to be prepared to be like fuel on the fire.  He takes over.  He is a present reality that overwhelms us.  That is who God is, yet I fear that too many American evangelicals try to keep God at arm's length.  I don't think it works that way.  If you are worshiping you will be consumed.

I feel like I could keep writing and thinking about this all morning, but I have to get moving.  What are your thoughts on this?

1 comment:

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