Awe and wonder . . . two words that perfectly fit any view of God. But in a world that thinks too highly of itself, populated with fallen people who seriously think too highly of themselves, awe and wonder do not describe the average response to God, Who has revealed Himself to us in Scripture - and His creation. And if I were to be completely honest (which hurts as I admit to my own sin of pride and over-aggrandizement of myself personally - and humanity corporately) I do not respond to Him nearly enough with the kind of awe and wonder that He deserves. At times I sing songs about His greatness with little more than yawning excitement - and even more sinfully - with a sense of wanting to get on with it so I can move on to other things more exciting to me. In an age where we make much of man - and even more of ourselves - the whole concept of being lost in wonder and awe of God is dangerously waning. And please understand I speak not of the world at large - but of those of us in the church.
There are two words that should show up often in our vocabulary when seeking to give any kind of description of God. The first of these words is the word "awe." We speak of things that, when we see them or experience them leave us awe-struck. That means the shear magnitude and majsety of them render us speechless because we are not sure there are words adequate to describe what we are seeing or experiencing. God, being both infinite and eternal, should be One who leaves us utterly speechless because His majestry and limitless magnitude are beyond human words or concepts. That is where we reach back to get our second word, "wonder." When I looked up wonder at Dictionary.com, the following definition began to take shape in my mind. Wonder means to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe. This sense of wonder often illicits surprise, astonishment, and in some cases worship or adoration of what has caused our wonder. The God Who has revealed Himself in the Old and New Testaments - and Who is also revealed in what He has created, is a God Who can fill our hearts and our minds with both awe and wonder.
There is no way to adequately define or describe Who God is. One way that we can touch the fringe of His boundless, infinite magnitude is by looking at nature - most specifically - the heavens. Since the discovery of the telescope, we've enjoyed a view of the heavens that expands as quickly as we can upgrade the ability of our telescopes to see further and further into space. The information below was originally printed in John MacArthur's commentary on the book of Matthew.
"The more man delves into the universe, the more amazing and awesome the wonder of creation becomes. Telescopes can take us some four billion light years—about twenty-five sextillion miles—into space, and yet we have not come near the edge of the universe. We have discovered certain gravitational principles that keep the stars and planets in their orbits, yet we are far from fully explaining those principles, much less duplicating them. The earth spins on its axis at a thousand miles an hour at the equator, travels in a five-hundred-eighty-million-mile orbit around the sun at about a thousand miles a minute, and, with the rest of its solar system, careens through space at an even faster speed in an orbit that would take billions of years to complete. The energy of the sun has been estimated to be equivalent to five-hundred-million-million-billion horsepower. There are at least one-hundred-thousand-million other suns in our galaxy, most of them larger than ours." (John MacArthur, Commentary on Mark)
What is even more amazing to me after reading that again, is that MacArthur's statement is just a small paragraph, because there is enough to know about our universe to fill an entire library of books. That is after we've spent 100's of years looking into space. The truth is our knowledge of the universe is ridiculously limited at the present time. If we had instruments and ships that could take us far out into the universe (even into our own galaxy to be honest) our knowledge would grow exponentially!
To give you a perspective on how much we should be in awe and wonder of the God who created our universe, allow me to focus on one star within it. Granted, at the moment (due to our lack of a telescope powerful enough to see it) it is the largest star we know. Nevertheless, let's talk about the star Sirius, or Canus Majoris. This largest of all stars known was most recently measured at around 1500 solar radii. If you were like me, you had no idea what a solar radii was. It is the measurement of how big our sun is. That measurement is approximately 432,450 miles (to go from the outer edge of the sun to its center). If you want to know how far it is around our sun - that would be approximately 2.72 million miles (quite a walk - and take sunblock over 50 because you might get a sunburn!) Just our sun is so huge that it blows the mind to comprehend its size. But we speak of Sirius (Canus Majoris) which is now approximately 1500 times the size of our sun. Now I know that you are tired from that recent walk around the sun (and a little burnt probably) but you need to suck it up - because now we're going to walk around Sirius - which would be 4.1 billion miles give or take a mile or two.
Forgive me for using this comparison - but it will give you a little better grasp of how large this star is. Imagine our earth is a basketball. Compared to our sun earth is a little smaller than a popcorn seed. In order to get something as large as Canis Major you would have to have a ball that is over half the size of the Empire State Building. Let me put that into perspective for you. That height is larger than the full height of the Superdome. So we are talking about a ball bigger than the Superdome itself (try jumping high enough to dumk that sucker into a basketball rim that can fit it!). Another way of describing the size of Sirius is that if we put it into our solar system (starting at the center of our sun) its outer edge would reach beyond the orbit of Saturn (although some think it extends beyond that to about the orbit of Jupiter). That is HUGE! But . . . this is only 1 star, albeit the largest one on record to date. There are trillions times trillions more stars in our universe - all of which have been placed in orbital movements that conicide with each other with greater precision than that of a well choreographed ballet. It truly is incredulous to an infinite degree how men can think this is all a random cosmic accident!
I've taken all this time - and verbiage - to hopefully get you to stand in awe and wonder of a single star - in a galaxy filled with billions and billions of starts - which is in the midst of millions of other galaxies - all moving in such synchronization that we set our clocks by its movement. God created all this by His infinite power and wisdom. He did it so that they would proclaim the glory of His great name! Thus this mere creation of the genius and limitless strength of our God is itself infinitely inferior to Him - the One who spoke it into existence. It required no over-exertion on His part and its creation was no drain on either His intelligence or His might. He is beyond its existence and could as easily consume it entirely with one additional word spoken to utter remove it to little more than an afterthought flying quickly through our minds. So please . . . the next time you consider the God of your salvation - the God of creation - the God of eternal, timeless existence and infinite, measureless magnitude . . . do so with awe and wonder . . . oh, and a little reverence might be in order too (just as an infinitely understated suggestion). And one other thing . . . this coming Sunday when you meet with the saints to sing of the God of your salvation - remember Sirius, Canus Majoris - or by its common name, "The Big Dog!" When you do - and you also meditate on the fact that God created this giant ex-nihilo (meaning out of nothing) as He spoke the world into existence (By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3, NASB), we will be moved by His Spirit and the truth to sing and worship Him with both awe and wonder! Or, in a euphamism more familiar to our current age, "Let the 'big dawg' speak, and when you feel him - get crunk as you worship God off the hinges." (Yes, I know that just exposed me as a really old white guy trying to look cool - sorry, couldn't help it with the star being named, "the big dog.")
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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