Read your Bible: Isaiah 40:1–9
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low… The glory of the Lord shall be revealed.Isaiah 40:3b–5a NKJV
In Bill Moyers’ book A World of Ideas: Part Two, a man named Joseph Needleman remembers:
I was an observer at the launch of Apollo 17. It was a night launch, and there were hundreds of cynical reporters all over the lawn, drinking beer, wisecracking, waiting for the 35-story rocket.
The countdown came. Then the launch.
The first thing you see is this extraordinary light, which is just at the limit of what you can bear to look at. Everything is illuminated with this light. Then comes this thing slowly rising up in total silence, because it takes a few seconds for the sound to come across. You hear a ‘WHOOOOOSH! HHHHMMMM!’ It enters right into you.
You can practically hear jaws dropping. The sense of wonder fills everyone in the place as this thing goes up and up. It becomes like a star, but you realize there are humans on it.
And then there’s total silence.
People just get up quietly, helping each other. They’re kind, they open doors. They look at one another, speaking quietly and interestedly. These were suddenly moral people because the sense of wonder, the experience of wonder, had made them moral.6
Something like that happens when you study God; the wonder changes you.
In the bright light of God you see your own fragility — and that perspective produces in you a good kind of fear, something like the awe of the reporters witnessing the Saturn rocket launch.
Did you check out today’s reading? Isaiah paints a picture of the glory of God leveling mountains. He says that before the glory of God,
“all people are like grass.”
You feel so small.
You know He is so big.
Behold your God.
Blown Away by God
In a verse I quoted yesterday, the Apostle Paul prays for the Christians in Ephesus to know God. But Paul uses a fascinating expression. He prays that they would
“know this love that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:19)
But how can you know something that surpasses knowledge?
It happened with the reporters and the rocket, didn’t it? They might have known the technical details of rocket science. But whatever knowledge level they had was swamped by the experience of the rocket launch.
That’s exactly my prayer for you during this study — not just that you learn stuff you didn’t know before, but that the bone-shaking rumble and roar of the God-rocket fills your chest, your heart, and your soul… and that this experience has results far beyond awe.
Knowledge That Transforms
Like the reporters who were moved by their sense of wonder to help each other, you and I too become changed when in awe of God.
So get ready for something that will rock your world.
Something that will illuminate everything with light, that will enter right into you, that will create a new sense of healthy fear where perhaps none existed before. And a new sense of being loved where perhaps none existed either.
Let Yourself Be Vulnerable
All you have to do? Psalm 46:10 says,
“Be still and know that I am God.” The phrase “Be still” means relax. In Hebrew it literally means to “let your arms down to your side” — to be vulnerable to God.
During this study, can you calm down long enough to know God? Can you “be still” and let your guard down — and without defensiveness, be open and vulnerable to what God wants to show you?
Because this study will be less about you examining God than about God examining you.
Learning about the attributes of God is not about putting God in a box…
it’s about realizing God does not fit in the box you have Him in.
it’s about encountering God as wild and free and full of fierce love.
it’s about the roar of the rocket and the whisper of His love.
Are you ready?
Questions For Reflection
What are you looking forward to most as you enter this study?
In what way are you struggling with being still?
What is it that you are most defensive about — where do you know you should change, yet least want to change?