"Would not his splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you?" – Job 13:11
Does the majesty of God displayed in Job 13:11 terrify you? If God showed up in one of his radiant theophanies, what do you think you would be doing? What do you think would happen to you? Would you not be down on your face like everyone else? Think about Abram when God wanted to prove the truth of his promise that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky and that he would inherit the earth he was walking on, he had a covenant-cutting ceremony. Genesis 15:12 says, “As the sun was setting a deep sleep fell on Abram, and suddenly a terror and a great darkness descended on him.” A terror and a great darkness. And then God showed up in the form of a fire pot.
Abram’s grandson Jacob had a dream at Bethel, and his mind was filled with light. There was a stairway going up to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. And at the end of that incredible evening, he woke up that morning and he was filled with terror: “And he said, ‘How awesome is this place? This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.’" (Genesis 28:17)
Moses felt the fear and awe of the Lord at the burning bush, as Stephen relates in his sermon in Acts 7:32: "Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look." And then again, when God caused the ground to shake under the nation of Israel and descended in fire on Mount Sinai. The author of Hebrews wrote, "The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear’" (Hebrews 12:21). What do you think you would be doing if you had been there? The ground literally shaking under your feet and the mountain around you is burning because God descended in fire upon it. You would be on your face.
What about Isaiah? He saw the Lord seated, high and exalted, the train of his robe filled the temple, and the seraphim covering their faces. What was his reaction? “Woe is me! I'm ruined! For I'm a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). What do you think you would be doing if you received that vision?
And then there is Habakkuk. When God gave him a revelation of what was going to happen with sinful Israel and the exile to Babylon, and how God was going to use the Chaldeans to punish his own people, Habakkuk was somewhat arrogant. He boldly said to God, “I don't get it. I'm going to stand here at my post and I'm going to wait until you answer me.” Well, God answered him with warnings and a command to remember that God is in his temple and the earth must be silent before him. What was Habakkuk's reaction? "I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept in my bones, and my legs trembled." (Habakkuk 3:16)
Ezekiel had an almost inexplicable vision of the glory of God, wherein he almost stretched words to the breaking point trying to describe what he saw. High above all of these angelic beings was a throne and one seated on it. And he says, "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell face down." (Ezekiel 1:28)
"We might think that is just because of how God chose to reveal himself in the Old Testament. But we have some prime New Testament examples that remind us that the command to fear the Lord is still very much in place."
We might think that is just because of how God chose to reveal himself in the Old Testament. But we have some prime New Testament examples that remind us that the command to fear the Lord is still very much in place. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw Jesus’ glory revealed before them. His face shown like the sun, his clothes became radiantly white, whiter than anyone in the world could launder them, “And a bright cloud enveloped them and a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my son whom I love; with him, I am well pleased. Listen to him’” (Matthew 17:5)! What were they doing? Peter, James, and John were on their faces. What would you be doing?
At the end of a holy and fruitful life, the Apostle John was exiled to the island of Patmos. There he had a vision of the resurrected glorified Christ, which he describes in Revelation 1, "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze, glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters…when I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead." (Revelation 1:14-17). That's after the resurrection, after Christ’s ascension into heaven. That's in the new covenant era. Would not the dread of the Ancient of Days fall upon you? Would not his majesty terrify you? Almighty God himself said, "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is humble and contrite in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite." (Isaiah 57:15) He said later "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble in contrite and spirit, and who trembles at my word."(Isaiah 66:2)
As we have seen throughout the Bible, even though Jesus’ blood allows us to have a personal relationship with God, he still wants us to fall on our faces in reverence. I believe that the purpose of the Book of Job is to bring us to a solid confession of trust in God. So, when we see his glory, we will be on our faces in humble worship.