Are We Too Casual With God?

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”[1]Hebrews 12:18-21

I once encouraged my church members to consider taking off their shoes when they entered the house of God. Many pointed out what a bad idea this was for many reasons. My point inmaking this request was I think we are losing our sense of awe and respect for God. In losing this we are making God into a kindly old grandfather-type easy to ignore. Albert Einstein said, “He who can no longer pause to wonder, is as good as dead.” And Madeleine L’Engle replied, “I share Einstein’s affirmation that anyone who is not lost on the rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe ‘is as good as a burnt-out candle.’”

Hebrews 12 ties together the two images of God. The Mount Sinai God and the Mount Zion God.

As P. H. Hacking describes this tale of two images: “What we believe about our future inevitably affects how we react here and now. Hebrew Christians no longer lived in the Old Testament dispensation, centered on Mount Sinai, but in the New Testament era, centered on Mount Zion. This is a kingdom of joy, not of fear, and yet God has not changed and needs to be approached with reverence and awe. So, this chapter will end with the reminder that ‘our God is a consuming fire’ (v. 29).”

The Image of God from Mount Sinai

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