Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Wonder of it All

I Pet.1:8 - Whom having not seen, you love, in whom, though you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Acts 3:10 -…and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Peter knew of Whom he spoke.

Think of the times in this life that we are filled with joy and emotional ecstasy.
There have been numerous times of extreme excitement, joy, and happiness in my life. Marriage, graduation, ordination, and many other significant occasions. But I believe there have been only four occasions of pure wonder.

In the summer of 1969 I watched as a man stepped out onto the surface of the moon for the first time. I felt a sense of wonder.

In September of 2001 I watched live as the twin towers crumbled to the ground killing thousands. I felt a sense of wonder.

On January 12th 1980 I witnessed the birth of my first child. I felt a sense of wonder.

Now these three events have passed and I can only remember the sense of wonder I felt back then.

But the fourth occasion was in March 1975 when I first met and became a follower of Jesus Christ. I was overwhelmed with a sense of wonder that infinitely eclipses all other events in my life. The wonder of finally realizing what Bethlehem really meant. The wonder of Jesus' sinless life. The wonder of His miracles. The wonder of His scourging. The wonder of the thorns, nails, punches, spit, mocking, rejection, spear, and the one word that God gave us to sum it all up - the Cross. The wonder of His death. The wonder of His resurrection. The wonder of His ascension. The wonder of His coronation. The wonder of His love, mercy, grace, patience, goodness, and His salvation. The wonder of His Spirit. The wonder of His holiness. The wonder of His throne. The wonder of the coming day in which He stands to His feet, mounts His heavenly steed, summons His angels, gathers His saints, and in breathtaking power and glory bursts into this world once more, and by just the brilliance of His Person He reclaims the throne of David to rule and reign this entire universe - FOREVER!!!

Now these thoughts can only be understood by another follower of Christ but they seem mysterious and intangible to someone who is lost. The reality that we have been given eternal life is beyond our ability to fully appreciate and we know that any imagery about our eternal destiny falls infinitely short of the coming experience. And knowing that only adds to our joy which is actually unspeakable. To think of Almighty God is mind boggling. To think of the Glorified Christ is unbelievable. To think that one day we will be with God in heaven forever is beyond us but it should and does create a joy that cannot be explained to a lost person and sadly to many who claim to be saved. The reality of who we were and who we are should sometimes bring such joyful praise that it is sometimes hard to contain and really, why should we contain it?

And if you will quiet your spirit for a moment and carefully listen you may well hear something that will so rapture you with grateful worship that you may have to withdraw yourself from others and sacredly enter within the veil and bow before Him. What is it that could so affect you? What could your earthly ears hear that so captures you that it alters your heart and demands your full worship? Listen, and you can hear God say,

I love you.
Selah.

But there is another kind of wonder that approaches the entire planet. Jeremiah prophesied about this event that will even bring prophets to wonder even though they have seen its coming.

Jer.4:7-9 - The Lion is come up from His thicket, and the Destroyer of the Gentiles is on His way; He is gone forth from His place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us. And it shall come to pass at that day saith the Lord, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes, and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.

I find it very hard to put into understandable context in describing the coming holocaust at the very hands of the Sovereign. For all who are in Christ the wrath that was our due was poured out upon God’s Son in our stead, we are safe. But for all who are outside of Christ, God’s wrath has had thousands of years to reach this point and they are the targets of this disturbed Lion.

In Old Testament terms God uses the word Gentiles to define all His enemies and of course the use of the word Lion is the Lord Himself. Picture the Pride Male resting under a shady thicket and watching over His territory. He has witnessed rogue lions come and ravage His own pride but He has had patience in the hope that they would cease and give homage to Him. But as the assault continues on His pride and specifically His very bride, His anger grows. His whiskers are now twitching and His tail nervously moves. His gigantic muscles ripple and the jaws of His vengeance salivate. His eyes of fire are trained upon all His enemies and His massive heart beats within His powerful breast.

We have seen male lions spring from their resting place and with great strides and viciousness they have taken vengeance upon the enemies of the pride. Well the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is now twitching. He has witnessed His enemies ravage His pride and lead them astray, and His own pride has turned against Him. But do not remove the horror that is about to be unleashed upon the inhabitants of the Earth. It is beyond our ability to comprehend and describe. The Lord Christ will arise from His rest and fulfill His Words about His return.

Forget about politics and superficial morality, only those who by faith have been born again by the Spirit will ever escape. And the Scriptures say that even the prophets, those who have warned about the coming event, will wonder. The blood that will be spilled, the pain that will be felt, the punishment that will inflicted, and the wrath that will grind to powder those who have not known Christ will astonish the world. Why were we not told about this Lion? We thought Jesus was all loving and never given to violence, why were we not told?

If we actually caught a vision of the wrath of Almighty God we might well go on our rooftop and warn people at the top of our lungs! A horrible reality that we have yet to fully comprehend. The enemy of our souls is telling everyone how wonderful everything is and will be, but they are not God’s prophets, they are the ear tickling prophets of men.

Look! Look! The Almighty Lion stirs. His warnings have gone unheeded and His Word treated as nothing. He will not share His glory with another and He is well prepared to visit every last particle of disobedience that has blasphemed His matchless name. There is no time to run and resistance is futile. The shelter of His cross is still open but approaching a day in which the door locks. The Day of the Lord will cause all of us to wonder. Why?

I will wonder why He would ever love someone like me. I will wonder why I was spared. I will wonder why He allowed me a rout of escape that led right through His own sufferings. I will wonder at His power and magnificent justice and when I see His vengeance I will gratefully bow in worship and tearfully and frightfully wonder.

His love, His mercy, His grace, His holiness, His power, His beauty, His cross, His throne, and His eternal dwelling place , all a sacred and eternally pristine mystery that will cause me to wonder with joy unspeakable and full of glory. In my most obedient moment I never deserved any of it, but there I will be, changed forever and belonging only to Him. I can scarcely imagine it and though my faith sometimes feels like less than a mustard seed I rejoice in that it is not based upon my faith but fully upon His ability to keep His Word.

And with that, I joyfully and humbly wonder.

4 comments:

Baptist Girl said...

Hi Rick,
Thank you for sharing that. My heart just kept getting filled with joy the more I read on. It's alway humbling to hear about how much God loves us..I do not deserve His love and yet He loves me. It brings me to tears sometimes when I think about it because I really am not worthy of His love. You sure can hear the sound of the roaring getting stronger and stronger, He is coming, He is coming!

Cristina

Kim T said...

a quiet amen

Coram Deo said...

I appreciate your blog, sir.

I stumbled across it when reading your comments over at Mike Ratliff's Possessing the Treasure blog and have visited a few times by following the link in your posts. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

But mostly I appreciate the plain spoken and clear manner in which your words glorify the King of Glory, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

I've added you to my blogroll.

God bless.

David Dansker said...

Dear Rick: (I could not find your email link, so posted here)

TheNewsBeats.com ran a short article on GodMen to day. It is not a gloss piece or an expose, but is an objective vignette. While it raises a few concerns, I appreciate the current circumstances within churches that make such a men's fellowship appealing. I have invited Brad Stine, the founder of GodMen, to respond to the article. In order to establish a forum of interested Christians that would prompt Mr. Stine to contribute comments, I would appreciate it you could make some small comment as to any thoughts you may have.

Thanks so much for your time,

David
TheNewsBeats.com