The Fear of Isaac
Our worship yesterday was centered on the theme “Our Awesome God.” The word “awesome” has been so watered down in our language that many things that are decidedly not awesome are called awesome. There is a website called “Oh My, That’s Awesome” that features are kinds of strange “awesome” things-- like an Android geek tie, a 26 pound gummy bear, an iPig docking station, and an underwater scooter—all guaranteed to be awesome! Of course, none of those things are awesome. God is awesome. Ultimately, ONLY God is awesome. We tried to remind ourselves of that yesterday in our worship.
One of the songs we sang yesterday was the Keith Lancaster arrangement of the Rich Mullins classic “Awesome God.” For years, we simply sang the chorus of this song—“Our God is an awesome God, He reigns in heaven above with wisdom power and love, our God is an awesome God.” But I think the the message of verses are what really let this song point us to the awesome in our awesome God. Here's a cappella version arrangement we used yesterday. Listen closely to verses in middle of the song.
Have we too quickly forgotten that our God is an awesome God? Do we realize there really is thunder in His footsteps and lightening in His fists. Do we believe that "judgment and wrath he poured out on Sodom?" Do we think "It wasn;t for no reason that he shed his blood?" God hasn't become civilized or domesticated; our God is still an awesome God!
Our daily Bible reading today is from Genesis 30-34. In part of this story, Jacob decides that it is time to leave Paddan Aram and return home to face the music with Esau. He is afraid that his father-in-law Laban will not easily allow him to leave, so he sneaks off in the middle of the night with his wives, children and flocks and herds. His fear of Laban turns out to be well founded as Laban rides them down and confronts Jacob in the hill country of Gilead. They spend some time accusing each other of being unfair, but then after the required diplomatic back and forth, they decide to make a covenant. They set up a pile of rocks to represent a boundary between and then they swear that they will not cross that boundary into one another's territory. Laban swears by the “God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father,” actually covering a gambit of different deities. It is interesting how Jacob returns the oath—
So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac. He offered a sacrifice there in the hill country and invited his relatives to a meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night there. (Genesis 31:53-54).
Earlier he had referred to God as “the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac” (Gen 31:42). We are used to the Bible speaking of “the fear of God,” but here the name of God is Fear! God is "He who is to be feared." Maybe we have lost some of that sense of "awesomeness."
Our God is an awesome God. Not awesome like in 26 pound gummy bears. But awesome as in “There's thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His fists.” We need to remember that as we worship. We need to remember that even MORE as we leave worship.