Nehemiah 1:5 Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,”
There is a scene in the movie Fantasia called Night on Bald Mountain. It is a scene where the mountain top becomes the god of evil; one of Disney’s most powerful and terrifying villains. In the middle of the night he unfolds his wings and the whole mountain top becomes this evil being. He terrorizes his minions and is frightening to behold. But the coming of the dawn, forces him to withdraw and conceal himself once again.
I find this representation to be the antithesis of our ‘great and awesome God’. Yes we read in Exodus 19 where God came down on Mt. Sinai with thunder, lightning, billowing smoke and the whole mountain trembled violently. And I truly believe that the fear of the Lord includes elements of this Mt. Sinai reality. But Nehemiah’s prayer in addressing the LORD, refers to his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands. Daniel addresses the LORD in the very same way in his prayer (Daniel 9:4).
While we must come to grips with the serious reality of our God, our focus is upon the amazing love relationship that He has established with us. We are not minions, but sons and daughters. He does not terrorize us, but He is totally for us and works in us to be totally for Him. We are able to daily experience His love for us and express our love to Him.
The experiences I had with my last boss at Medical Mutual provide a really helpful perspective in understanding my daily relationship with God. I remember Mike’s first meeting with our unit in Cleveland. He was very pleasant, but he let it be known that if something was unethical or illegal or even close to it, he didn’t want us even thinking of doing such things. He went on to describe the working relationship that he wanted us to have – which was wonderful.
He was a joy to work with and for; but he was no one to mess with. The more I got to know him the more thrilled I was. He cared about what we thought – and more than that he cared about us. Mike was a wonderful Christian man. Importantly, he lived his faith in all his actions and attitudes with us at work. He was a picture of integrity and doing the right thing.
I worked with and for Mike for the next 3 ½ years. Never, in all my years of working had I worked for a more wonderful, caring, competent person. He was there for us whenever we needed him. The practical outcome of this was both functional and relational. I was able to excel in doing my job – it was both my opportunity and responsibility. I also relished the relationship with my superior (boss) and how it was able to thrive as I responded consistently with his (appropriate) expectations. He relished my success.
Day by day, our Heavenly Father wants us to experience the joyful reality that comes with being His child and living our lives for Him. We get to experience and live out His covenant of love in all the situations we find ourselves in. It’s easy to understand why He cares so about what we do: our actions have such impact on our relationship with Him – and that’s what He treasures most of all. It is a covenant of love.