“Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11 (NIV)
The old saying goes, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.” Each year I teach my preschool students this saying as a tool to learn about the weather and its changes throughout the month of March. We then make a paper plate lion face and a paper plate lamb face and glue them together for each student to take home to use as a weather gauge. If the day is windy and cold, the lion side faces out. If it is warm and sunny, they can flip it to the lamb side.
God also has two faces that we can very aptly call the lion and the lamb. It seems to me that much of the Old Testament is filled with lion-esque events...the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Egyptian plagues, the walls of Jericho... the list could go on and on. In the verses leading up to Psalm 2:11 the psalmist describes God’s wrath and terror toward the kings of the earth. Although God also shows his lamb face on occasion, we leave the Old Testament with a clear picture of God’s might, His power, and especially His righteousness.
When Jesus, the Lamb of God, is born in Bethlehem we have a God with skin on –One who can relate to us in every way...an infant who grows into a child that trips and skins his knees; an unattractive young man who experiences rejection among His peers, who heals the brokenhearted and befriends the friendless; an adult who is tempted by all the things the world has to offer, who was humbly led “as a lamb to the slaughter...” Jesus, the God of the New Testament, was mostly seen as a lamb –approachable, loving, full of grace and mercy. He offers those who would believe on Him the opportunity to become His children, and with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit a whole new level of familiarity with God is introduced.
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4: 6 (NIV)
In the English language, calling God “Abba” would be the same as calling Him “Daddy.” Old Testament believers most likely could have never imagined the day when a human being could speak so intimately with God.
Unfortunately, I think that many of us have become so enamored with God’s lamb-likeness that we have forgotten His lion-likeness. A great example of this might be found in my prayer life. At any given time I have quite a list of people on my prayer list with some pretty pressing needs. Many times I have needs and desires of my own. Therefore, it is often easy to approach God with, “Dear God, be with Kenny today, and please heal Jerry’s cancer. Help Teresa and Tom work out their marriage problems, give me a good day at work, help us make the house payment this month....”
You get the picture. It reminds me of the days when my teenagers approached me with, “Hey, Mom. How’s it going? Can I have the keys to the car? Oh, and I need ten dollars for gas. Can I have an extra five to get into the game?”
Although I have the liberty to approach God in that way, and He still loves me and graciously hears my petitions, my approach is that of a spiritual adolescent. Imagine how pleased He must be when I come to Him instead as a spiritual adult, preparing my heart beforehand, in much the same way as I might dress up for a date with my husband; and then bowing before Him, breathless with awe, worship and devotion!
God wants to know that I know Him. He desires for me to behold both His might and His mercy; His holiness and His humility; His lion face and His lamb face. If I truly see Him as He is, I will come to Him often in fear and trembling...fear, because I understand His righteous power, and trembling because the God of the universe desires a loving, intimate relationship with one as lowly as I.
By the time March comes around, I, like my students, look forward most to the lamb days. It is with much joy that we turn the lion face to the wall and peer into the cotton-ball face of the lamb. In much the same way, I am grateful that I can turn from the lion-like God found in the pages of the Old Testament to the lamb-like God found in the New Testament. But I must remember that God doesn’t change like the weather. He is and always has been both a lion and a lamb. And so I will joyfully regard and serve Him with both a spirit of fear and with fond familiarity.
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12 (NIV)
This is my post for this week's Monday Manna. Please visit Joanne at An Open Door for more views on this passage.