Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Awe of the tremors of God's Holy presence
Have you ever experienced an earthquake?
Earlier this week the news had reported an earthquake occuring in the middle of Virginia. My sister-in-law, who lives near Philadelphia, several hours away from the epi-center, told my wife that things on her wall were shaking. I can recall my own experience of an earthquake when we had lived in a town North of Tulsa. There had been a confirmed magnitude 4.3 earth tremor with its epicenter in Norman Oklahoma, several hours from where we had lived. At the time I working in a church building, when suddenly the books on the shelves "rubbed" against one another. Even though this event was small in comparison to many earthquakes we hear about, still it was enough to cause excitement and wonder.
What happens when God is on the moveIn Amos 1:1 we read these words: "1The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake." Notice the underlined words? Amos, a shepherd, was beginning his ministry in a time where there had been a great earthquake in Israel. Other prophets, such a Zechariah, speak of this same earth quake in Zechariah 14:5. What was going on that made this earthquake occur? In the simplest terms: God was on the move.
A king's wrong move
According to commentators and ancient Jewish Historians such as Josephus, a King, Uzziah (who we read about in 2 Chronicles 26), had entered into the holy place of the temple grounds. Now though he was King, he was in a place where he should not had been. According to history and 2 Chronicles 26, when Uzziah made this fatal mistake, God struck him with leprosy. Apparently at the exact same moment a huge earthquake struck Jerusalem, causing a major crack to open up the roof in the temple, letting light in, where then Uzziah was struck with leprosy. It was in that same year that Uzziah would die. Isaiah 6:1 records these words: "1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."
How often we ignore the tremors of His Holy Presence
When my own "earth shaking experience" occured that morning near Tulsa, I thought of how many times does God move in our midst? How many people miss the "tremors" and "seismic shifts" that occurs when He moves? Some people I had talked to at that time had not even realized there had been an earth quake. However by the end of the day, everyone knew, due to news reports and media outlets.
Lets never lose the awe of God
Now I suppose by next week, the earthquake in Virginia will begin to fade into memory. But I would bid the reader not to treat God in that same fashion. Rumblings are taking place. In some ways it is disturbing what is going on in our churches, our lives and our cities. However, three prophets, Amos, Isaiah and Zechariah, were called by God to report all they saw and heard. Holy God is desiring sole allegiance and covenant unity with His people. May we never lose the awe and fear of our Holy God.