Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Stand Amazed in the Presence

The Greatness of God - Isaiah 40:9-31
"Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not, say to the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God!' Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the water in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him counsel? Whom did he consult and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him. they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot, he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move.
Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circles of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing and makes teh rulers of earth as emptiness.
Scarcely they are planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken rot in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like them? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see; who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God'? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He give power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youth shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Starting to write this on a beautiful spring day and finishing it up on a rainy April day simply drives my point home. It's so easy to confuse the beauty of God's creation with the beauty of God Himself. the physical and aesthetic beauty of the world around us is a wonderful reminder of God, but it doesn't hold a candle to the beauty of God. Through all the things God has done for me over the course of 19 years, I've slowly come to realize that God's character is at the center of His beauty.

I've been frustrated with all kinds of little things lately that really shouldn't bother me and I've let that frustration spread to most aspects of my life. My focus has shifted to the point where my time with God has been nothing more than me taking individual problems to Him one at a time. Just as we confuse the beauty of the earthy with God's beauty, I've been confusing the things God does for me with God's love for me.

It's passages like Isaiah 40 that help to shift my skewed focus. God is so big and powerful and yet when I call on Him, He'll give me His strength. The nations are so small and insignificant in His eyes yet He's chosen to love and save me, who's so much smaller than an entire nation. You are so much more than a supreme being sitting on a throne waiting to help us out of a bind, more than the best giver of advice we could ever seek. You are "the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth". It's not about the things You've done for me, but rather about the grace that flows from every fiber of Your being that allows You to do those things for me.

From the spring morning to the rainy, stormy afternoon, from obviously answered prayers to the many unexpected answers, from my initial salvation to my continued sanctification, I remember what You've done and reflect on who You are. For this moment (and many more, I pray) I marvel at the amazing work of the Spirit, I humble myself at the foot of Your cross, and I stand amazed in your presence.

I Stand Amazed in the Presence (Vs. 1 & 5)
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned unclean.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!

When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see
'Twill be my joy thro' the ages
To sing of His love for me.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!