my flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. [psalm 119:120]
one of my favorite quotes from cs lewis’ the lion, the witch and the wardrobe is when the children are newly in narnia and learning about the new world that they have come to inhabit, mr. beaver (yes, an actual, talking beaver) tells the children of aslan:
“aslan is a lion- the lion, the great lion.” “ooh” said Susan. “i’d thought he was a man. is he-quite safe? i shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”safe?” said mr beaver …”who said anything about safe? ‘course he isn’t safe. but he’s good. he’s the king, i tell you.”
to meet a lion–that would be terrifying–to meet our God face-to-face would be infinitely more so. do you tremble before a holy God? he is, of course, infinitely loving, infinitely good: but he is also infinitely worthy of our fear, of our awe, and our trembling.
when isaiah got a glimpse God on his throne, he is obliterated by God’s glory:
“then said i, ‘woe is me! for i am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’” [isaiah 6:5, kjv]
the esv uses the term “lost”, the nasb uses the term “ruined” but i like the kjv’s “undone” because it shows that to even peek at God’s glory would result in our absolute disintegration–our perspective is radically reoriented–we have no glory, and in the face of God’s holiness, in ourselves, we have absolutely everything to fear.
but in Christ, that fear of condemnation turns to a different kind of trembling. open the word, read it, enter in to his presence, boldly approach the throne and tremble–know the wrath you have been saved from–and know the one you were saved by and unto–Jesus Christ!
~ conor eastman