Recent years have seen an increase in teaching that emphasizes God’s love,
forgiveness, and intimate presence with His people.
These truths are important to hear in modern society, where many people feel lonely, isolated, guilty, and insignificant. But has the pendulum swung too far? Have some Christians perhaps become overly familiar in their view of the Lord, thinking of Him not just as the friend of sinners, but as their personal buddy? Has there been a loss of respect for God’s authority and holiness?
The ancient Israelites repeatedly treated God with disrespect during their wilderness journey to the Promised Land (Ps. 78:40–41). They forgot that just as His power was able to punish the pagan Egyptians for oppressing them, so it was ready to punish their own disobedience and rebellion (Ps. 78:42, 59–61).
By contrast, the Psalms call us to maintain a high view of God:
- The Lord executes justice, which includes deposing those who exalt themselves (Ps. 75:2–10).
- He is awesome and deserves to be feared (Ps. 76:4–12).
- He is worthy of our reflection as we consider His many acts throughout the history of the Israelites (Ps. 77:11–20).
- He will judge those who do not serve Him (Ps. 78:32–55).
- He is like none other. We are to learn about Him in order to fear His name (Ps. 86:8–11).
Reflect for a moment on your own perceptions of God. Have you become overly familiar toward Him? If so, consider how you might become more realistic in your understanding—perhaps by meditating on the psalms cited above. As the writer to the Hebrews reminds us, we need to serve God with reverence and holy fear.