Terrifying Awe

Road to the sky
Memorizing chapters and entire books inevitably leads us to verses we wouldn’t otherwise choose to memorize—lots of them. When we read the Bible we can quickly skim over difficult teachings without coming to grips with their application, but memorizing doesn’t allow us to breeze through the hard parts. An example from one of the books I’ve memorized:

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed” 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.

Though not difficult to understand, these verses make me shudder and squirm every time I recite them aloud. And they should. They sharpen my focus on the holiness of God. They disturb my thoughts, prolong my meditation, and alter my view of the faces I see. I can’t ignore the ramifications—my agenda has to change.

And just when I’ve digested the above words, this book hits me with more.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” 2Thessalonians 2:9-12.

I tremble at these words.

And that, my friends, is one of the profound benefits of memorizing God’s Word, book-by-book. It makes us struggle and wrestle with truth—sometimes for weeks and months. It interjects balance into our warped, sugar-coated view of God. One chapter reveals a humble Shepherd, and another, a consuming Fire. We’re magnetized by his kindness and horrified by his severity. His ways defy our logic and leave us mystified.

And then, in terrifying awe, we bend our knee in worship of our inexplicable God.

I’d love to hear your stories of chapters that make you tremble.

7 comments to Terrifying Awe

  • Mickey Waite

    Janet now I am awake, once again you hit it out of the park. And I love the graphic. Your line magnetized by his kindness and horrified by his severity, reminds me of Romans 11:22 Note then the kindness and severity of God:severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Thanks for reminding us of the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

  • janeMBS

    Awesome indeed!! Where I’m at is quite a different theme – the start of 1 Peter chapter 3. To be honest, I almost decided 2 chapters of ! Peter would be enough, however, I’ve kept going. “In the same way, you wives be submissive to your own husbands…”, I’m busy thinking up excuses even as I read it. Then we come to the example of Sarah being ‘obedient’ to Abraham and calling him ‘Lord’. I’ve asked my Heavenly Father about this and what such a life should look like.

  • Tony

    Janet, I can’t tell you how much this reminded me of memorizing the first three chapters of Romans. Specifically 1:18 – 3:20. That was a tough section for me to get through. Although, thankfully, a lot does not apply to me, I had to “look in the mirror” for some of it. God does have a lot of “hard stuff” in His “love letter” letter to us, but as 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 state “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” It may be hard, it may be difficult, but it’s all certainly there for our good.

  • Richie

    I hear people say “oh, God is loving and wouldn’t turn people away”; in fact I, myself, used to think this until I found the truth in his book. 1john 2 tells me “do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. Now if I hadn’t memorized that in pursuit of the whole book, I would have overlooked it. It caused me do do some self examination. You are right, Janet. Memorizing entire books gives us balance and the total picture of who God is, not to be confused with the sugar-coated man-made version.