My Chapter by Chapter reflection of Gripped by the Greatness of God

I have been learning some interesting things lately. The Lord has been working on my heart recently. I don’t think I can say that it’s on one specific thing, but the whole entire sanctification process. I started reading a book that mom and dad bought for Jon’s birthday. It’s called Gripped by the Greatness of God by Joshua MacDonald. There are many interesting things that have been puncturing my heart in a good way, but I will try to touch on a couple of things.
The first chapter is based on Isaiah 6:1-7 which the first portion reads: “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
When you think of the Christian walk, is holiness the first thing you think of? To be honest, it isn’t for me, and the only reason that I say that is because holiness feels so unobtainable, but what is IT that is SO unobtainable? Do we even comprehend what God’s true holiness entails? Can we comprehend it if we even tried? The book encourages you to be completely shaken to the core in awe of the God we serve. The portion of scripture quoted above is a glimpse at God’s Holiness….what’s cooler about that glimpse is that Isaiah got to see it first hand and then share it with all of us.
The first item that Mr. MacDonald points out that struck me was his analysis of the following phrase, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne.” Here’s a series of quotes from the book. “Sitting — not pacing back and forth. Sitting — not wringing His hands. Sitting — not struggling or searching. Not God. Where was He? He was seated. He was settled. He was secure. He was certain. I wrote in the margin of my Bible, ‘Why so settled and so seated?’ The answer is: because He is in control. He knows it. Everyone in the throne room knows it. No one is worried (pg. 25).”
I personally wrote in the margin of the book that I need to remember this point daily. It’s SO easy to get caught up by the news, finances, family issues, and other concerns and forget that God is SEATED on His throne. He isn’t concerned. He is in control of EVERYTHING.
Okay, so this chapter had a lot that hit me. I mean even the comment, “with the train of His robe filling the temple.” The author used the example of Queen Elizabeth’s inauguration, but I couldn’t remember that far back, but I do remember Princess Diana’s wedding gown, and I remember the train being so long. It was a sign of regalness (if that’s even a word), respect, prestige, and any other lofty adjective you can think of. Our Lord’s train filled the temple….it wasn’t just the length of an aisle. It was long enough to fill the temple. Very impressive mental picture.
The rest of the passage reads: “And the foundation of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke, Then I said, “woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
Isaiah realized he was a sinner…a true sinner. He said, “I’m a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” Mr. MacDonald points straight at me when he wrote the following: “God forgive us for thinking, ‘You know, Lord, I think I’m a bit more holy than some of Your other followers.’ What a joke! Who cares about how you compare to the other guy? Who can stand before this God?” I personally struggle with this. It’s so easy to look at someone else and feel sorry for them because they don’t understand or see what’s right, but while I’m seeing what they are missing, I’m about to walk straight into a trial that will bring much pain and suffering because I am a sinner.
What terrible sin have you committed? Does it plague you? Did you know that it doesn’t have to? I know the Devil uses my past failures as an attack mechanism against my faith, but be encouraged by reading that second portion of scripture again…”Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
I told Jon I was writing a review about this book that I was reading, and he asked why. To be honest, I don’t know. I just feel compelled. The book is good so far, and I want to share it with you. Maybe you will learn something, maybe you will be encouraged, maybe you will be stopped in your tracks because we serve such a holy God. Here’s my final quote for the day from the book think about it and pray about it this week as you look at your life and realize your true state. “We are only prepared to receive and comprehend the grace of God when we have understood His infinite holiness and our incredible sinfulness.”

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