Beware of presumption. We serve a holy God not a cuddly best mate.
There is a major difference between many modern worship music and the Psalms. Too many modern songs speak only of the love of God, and he is seen only as a gentle and loving friend.
It’s not that the worship songs are wrong. It’s just that they can almost completely miss a different side of God’s character. I want to explore that a little today before we focus in another post to an event that happened in 2 Samuel 6 which shocks the modern reader.
In the Psalms God is described as someone who
- judges (Psalm 1:6)
- is full of wrath (Psalm 2:5, 12),
- breaks the teeth of the wicked (Psalm 3:10)
- is a God of honor and righteousness (Psalm 4:1-2)
- hates all evildoers and destroys liars (Psalm 5:5)
- disciplines (Psalm 6:1)
- feels indignation every day (Psalm 7:11)
- is majestic and full of glory (Psalm 8:1)
- rebukes and blots out the wicked (Psalm 9:5)
- stands far off and hides himself even when someone is in trouble (Psalm 10:1)
- tests us, and pours burning coals on the wicked (Psalm 11:5-6)
- cuts off flattering lips and boastful tongues (Psalm 12:3)
- forgets people (Psalm 13:1)
- looks down on us to see if anyone seeks him (Psalm 14:2)
- wants his people to despise vile people but honor those who fear God (Psalm 15:4)
- requires his people to recognize him as Lord (Psalm 16:1)
- delivers his people from the wicked with a sword (Psalm 17:13)
- when he is arroused makes the earth quake, smoke comes from his nostrils, and fire from his mouth, he clothes himself in darkness, and his voice thunders (Psalm 18:7-12)
- created the whole universe and the heavens in particular to display his glory (Psalm 19:1)
- and finally, this very awesome God is also someone we can expect to actually answer us! (Psalm 20:1-9)
I don’t know about you, but reading these words makes me want to repent of treating God lightly, of not respecting him enough, and of triffling with so-called ‘minor’ sins.
Of course this image of God I have painted today is not totally absent from modern worship. But I challenge you to think of a song that clearly focuses on this aspect of his character. And if you write worship songs, perhaps be inspired by these words from the Psalms.
When I next write, we will see how this view of God is vital as we seek to understand what happened in 2 Samuel 6.