Our Dread or Our Delight

The splendor of His majesty. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning. And my immediate response when encountering those words? Well, it’s akin to the psalmist’s response.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.   (Psalm 29:2 ESV)

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.   (Psalm 96:6 ESV)

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty . . .   (Psalm 104:1 ESV)

Think the splendor of His majesty and many of us imagine His glory and holiness. We turn our faces toward heaven and put our knees to the ground and respond with worship. We imagine a beauty beyond imagination. We bless our God. We anticipate that day when faith gives way to sight and we stand in His presence, beholding the splendor His majesty with joy inexpressible and awe indescribable.

And that will be our delight. The culmination of our pilgrim walk. The prize for running this sometimes arduous race we know as life. The crown for whatever faithfulness He has enabled us to show by His power and grace.

The splendor of His majesty. O blessed thought. O blessed anticipation.

But as I start in on Isaiah this morning I’m reminded that such a response to the splendor of His majesty is not the default response. It is not the natural response.

Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of His majesty. The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

(Isaiah 2:10-11 ESV)

Three times Isaiah repeats the truth that one day, when the LORD returns in the splendor of His majesty, far from anticipating it and running toward it, those who have refused Him as Lord will flee and seek to hide from His glory (2:10, 19, 21). Three times the prophet declares this word of the LORD. If repetition in the Scripture is intended for emphasis, and it is, then Isaiah is yelling this thought in order to get his people’s attention.

For the haughty, for the prideful, for those who have purposed to bow down to idols of their own making and devote their lives to the pursuit of ways which seem right in their own eyes, discounting the word of the Creator, giving heaven their back, on that day when the LORD is exalted, for them it will be a day of great terror and dread.

No delight in considering this. No desire that this be any man or woman’s lot. For, but for the grace, that’s where I’d be. Fleeing into a cave. Trying to bury myself in the dust. Seeking to avoid the splendor of His majesty.

Oh, but what a difference a day makes–and that, the day of salvation. The day when by His grace He started to open my eyes and stir my heart. When through His Spirit He revealed but a glimmer of His majesty and brought to light the evidence of His great love. The day, when with little theological understanding, I believed that Jesus was the Son of God sent to rescue those who would otherwise flee at the splendor of His majesty. I believed He was the Lamb of God come to take way the sin of the world . . . to take away my sin.

And on that day, by the shed blood of the Christ on the cross, and through the power by which He rose from the dead, I was “delivered from the domain of darkness”–that realm which flees from the splendor of His majesty. And I was transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son and “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12-14). And part of that inheritance shall be running to behold the light of His glory.

The splendor of His majesty. Our dread or our delight? O sinner hear His plea:

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

(Isaiah 1:18 ESV)

O sinner-saved-by-grace sing His praise . . . as you anticipate the day of His presence!

All because of grace, all for His glory.

Even so, Lord Jesus, come!

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