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Approaching God

Sometimes we forget who we are. Sometimes we think that we are the center of the universe, and that everything rotates around us. Sometimes we get so self-absorbed that we forget who is God and who is not. So, from time to time we need a little reminder that it is actually God who created and maintains our world, not us. As Paul told those in Athens, God “is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else … ‘for in him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:25, 27). Perhaps the high gas and food prices will serve as a reminder that we aren’t as in control of our lives as we might have thought.

Forgetting who is God is a serious mistake. There is a tendency to somehow equate ourselves with God either by elevating ourselves to his level, or by thinking that we can reduce him to ours. But one thing that the Bible is clear about and where there is no possibility of changing is in how we are to approach God. We must always approach him with reverence and awe, never carelessly nor flippantly:

Solomon said, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God” Ecclesiastes 5:1.

Jacob said, “Surely the Lord is in this place … How awesome is this place. It is none other than the house of God” Genesis 28:16-17.

To Moses God said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” Exodus 3:5.

After Nadab and Abihu were slain by God because of their presumptuous sins, Moses told Aaron, this is “what the Lord spoke of when he said, ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be held in honor.’” Leviticus 10:3.

God spoke through Isaiah to say to Israel, “When you come to appear before me … stop burning meaningless offerings. Your incense is detestable to me ” Isaiah 1:12-13.

The writer of Hebrews wrote, “… let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” Hebrews 12:28-29.

These are sobering verses. Do you, like me, sometimes forget how awesome it is to come into the presence of God? Do you sometimes forget how serious it is for you to worship God in both spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)? Do you sometimes forget how sinful you are and how holy he is? Do you sometimes forget that when you pray you are speaking directly to God through Jesus? Do you sometimes forget that you need to examine yourself in relation to Christ before taking the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:28-29)? Do you sometimes forget that you need to reconciled with your brother before offering worship to God (Matthew 5:23-24)?

Approaching God is a serious matter, one that needs our full attention. Never think that approaching God should be done thoughtlessly or insincerely or in any way that robs him of his honor as the Righteous and Almighty God.

—Joe Chesser