In the book of Revelation as the great Apostle John was carried by the Spirit into heaven on Sunday(would to God that would happen to us), he witnessed "things that were, things that are, and things that were to be". In chapter 4 John describes the very throne of God. Of course human words can only give a poor and limited glimpse of this eternal wonder, but even this hazy foreshadowing fills our hearts with awe and worship.
In Chapter 4 verse 8 John describes the four beasts, which the prophet Isaiah identifies as seraphim. These seraphim seem to be angelic beings created for worship. I can hardly imagine such a breathtaking scene, but John hears the seraphim speak. Can you imagine hearing the voices of the majestic angels of worship? Can you actually hear the holiness of God in their voices? What are they saying? If it wasn't recorded in Scripture, there would be a variety of guesses. Some would surmise they are saying "God is love"; some "God is merciful"; "God is gracious"; "God is redemptive"; all these phrases would accurately describe an attribute of God, but that is not what they are saying. They are saying day and night(constantly),"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come".
Have you ever been frightened in God's presence? Of course there are wonderful times of love, reassurance, joy, healing, and many other episodes where our Great Shepherd carefully reaches down to caress us, His sheep, in tenderness and intimacy. But there should also be times, as there have been throughout the church age, where we experience the awesome fear of the Lord. But what is the fear of the Lord?
When I was a little boy, my grandpa took my brothers and me to see a train wreck. It was a loaded freight train that had derailed and its cars had been strewn on both sides of the tracks. It had happened near a residential section where my aunt lived and some of the people had heard it happen. They had run from their houses and saw what had happened and their initial emotion was fear. Why were they fearful viewing an event that was over and they were safe? One reason was that they were amazed and overwhelmed by the sheer power of the train as they saw thousands of tons laying on the ground like toys. Secondly, they realized that they and their loved ones could have been injured, but they had escaped. As I viewed the wreck I sensed some of that emotion in my grandpa, and I was a little frightened.
Translate that event Spiritually against the backdrop of the words of the seraphim. Have you ever had an experience in the presence of God where you were overwhelmed with His sheer power(Lord God Almighty), and His august Holiness(Holy,Holy,Holy), and His eternality(which was, and is, and is to come), and this has ignited the fear of the Lord inside you?, I know that there are some who believe we should never fear the Lord but they are Scripturally wrong. Remember the apostle John, who leaned his head so often on the chest of Jesus, when he saw the Risen and Glorified Jesus, John fell at His feet as though dead!
It is easy to overemphasize one aspect of God's character at the expense of the others, but it is evident to even to the casual observer(lots of those) that the fear of the Lord and His holiness are almost ignored. If there ever was a time to preach the facets of God's character that would cause people to fear and examine their hearts, would it not be in these "last days"? Not a description of God that leaves out His love, grace, longsuffering, and all His "appealing" attributes, and that misrepresents Him in a one-sided picture. But a full disclosure that Scripturally depicts our Father and God because WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO ALTER HIS IMAGE(graven image) He said,"I am the Lord, I change not!".
Just like the train wreck scene, the fear of the Lord is somewhat parallel. We should sometimes tremble at the unimaginable power of Almighty God, it is so beyond us to comprehend. Knowing, now, that that power will soon turn into wrath directed at this world, should it not create in us a fearfully grateful heart of worship? The great and mighty hand of God's wrath that was meant for me has been stayed, and like Abraham God has "provided for Himself a sacrifice" to take my place. I am sometimes scared of God. Not at the diminishment of His love and mercy, no, my sense of fear only enhances these His other attributes.
Surrounded by your presence, what will my heart feel, will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still,
Will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall, Will I sing Halleluiah will I be able to speak at all
Sure we sometimes dance in His presence, but are we ever in such awe that we are still before Him? Sure we sometimes stand in His presence, but do we ever fall on our knees? Sure we sometimes sing "halleluiah", but are we ever speechless in His presence?
This world is in the cross-hairs of an unimaginable judgment that will come from the very mouth of God's consuming fire. Would it not be reasonable to assume that the church would sometimes experience dread and fear if not for ourselves, then for others? Did we not experience alarm and fear while watching buildings collapse on television? Then consider what vengeance the world will experience when the wrath of God is poured out upon all the inhabitants here. Should we feel any fear of God, if we believe it?