Trembling At God’s Word

warning_contains_opinionsOpinions. We all have them, and most of us freely share them under the right circumstances. Spend an hour watching any cable news outlet and you will be innundated with opinions about almost every topic under the sun. Hang out at the local small town restaurant on the morning after a big game and the “downtown coaches” will fill your ears with opinions about why the game was won or lost.

Some opinions are truly inconsequential, but others are matters of life and death. In important areas, upon what authority do you make your judgments? Here is how the God of the Bible asserts his authority:

Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.

(Isaiah 66:1-2 ESV)

Permit me to take a shot at paraphrasing these verses to make them meaningful in our everyday lives.  Here is what I believe these verses are saying:

The Creator and Ruler of the universe lives in a realm that is so far above this world it is futile for us to try to rein Him in. He is boundless, so He cannot be housed in buildings, He doesn’t live in “sacred” places, and we can’t put Him in convenient imaginary boxes in order to make Him more manageable. He is above everything! And yet God does pay attention to humans who, in humility, acknowledge their shortcomings, embrace their relative insignificance, and who look first to His revealed word, with fear and trembling, for guidance in forming whatever opinions they may hold…with open hearts and hands.

Here are several areas where God’s word challenges the prevailing opinions of the day. How do your opinions compare to the Bible’s revelation?

  • Genesis Chapter 1 says God created the universe and the earth in 6 days. The Hebrew word for “day” in this chapter literally means 24 hours. God made plants and animals according to their own individual “kinds” right from the beginning. Man and woman were special creations made in God’s image. A literal interpretation of Genesis would rule out naturalistic, evolutionary “billions of years” explanations for the origins of matter and life.
  • In Psalm 139, David the psalmist states that God knew him and planned his days even before he was conceived. God watched over him as he was being “intricately woven” together prior to his birth. This loudly and clearly declares the humanity of the fetus at every stage of development, making abortion equivalent to murder.
  • Jesus, in discussing marriage, said “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'” (Mark 10:6-7). Jesus defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Marriage cannot be defined any other way.

Trembling at God’s word means that we set aside relativistic opinions based on transient human reasoning, no matter how unpopular or inconvenient. Instead we joyfully seek to please Him by doing our best to interpret His word as he meant for it to be interpreted. I can’t imagine standing, at the end of my earthly life, before the omniscient Creator and telling Him that He should have made Himself clearer in His commandments and narratives. Can you?

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