The word radiance gives the picture of the breaking of day. It is that glorious moment when the sun comes over the horizon – and we never know what we will see – but we will always see light. We are taught about the ever-present radiance in Ezekiel 1:28:
“As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.” Ezekiel viewed God’s radiant glory and hit the dirt. Habakkuk tells us more:
“His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, and there is the hiding of His power…Sun and moon stood in their places; they went away at the light of Your arrows, at the radiance of Your gleaming spear.” (Habakkuk 3:4,11)
When the author of the letter to the Hebrews contemplated Jesus, He explained to us that the radiance which belongs to the Father is also flowing from His Son:
“And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” – Hebrews 1:3
So what do we conclude about fear and radiance?
“The reverence of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10
“The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” – Proverbs 15:33
√ The fear of the Lord is linked to His radiance.
√ We will find God’s wisdom if we value it.
√ Humility is a prerequisite to honor. What? If we wish to find honor we must find humility. It is the key to the door of the Kingdom.
√ Experiential knowledge of God’s holiness is key because we have no holiness of our own.
While God is filled with grace and compassion toward us, He does not (con)descend to mankind’s condition. There is no overlap between His holiness and us “missing the mark (sin defined).” God would have been justified in deserting humanity after the fall of Adam and Eve, leaving us to our own devices. How long do you think we would have made it on our own?
It is common to cast God in our image in all things. While we are made in His image – we are not Him. This is why it is important to consider the word fear. This is different than “being afraid.” It could be translated reverence rather than fear. The reverence eclipses the fear, and keeps us where we need to be in order to relate to God in ways which are good for our hearts – and responsive to His holiness.
Without a bowing of our pride and an embracing of the perfect radiance of our Creator, how can we find the path to maturity. How can a proud man or woman, unacquainted with His holiness, hope to find success in our quest?!
So reverence and radiance are key to fighting the battle. It is the opposite of who our adversary says he is. Consider this prophetic passage in Isaiah 14:
“But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
Reverential fear results in humility. Humility opens the door to the Kingdom. And through it, we become partakers of His glory.
“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” – 2 Peter 1:4
Fearing with you,
Dave and Burnadette