The “Depart from me, O Lord; I am a sinful man” syndrome
The goodness of the Lord leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
I sit on my back deck in the early mornings with my coffee and I worship the Lord. Some fifteen years before I bought it, the Lord had someone build this house for me. It is so right, everything about it–including the wonderful lady who shares it with me. She’s a gift from Him too.
I am so blessed that Heaven may take some getting used-to.
I sit out there taking in the birdsong, the sweet air moving gently across the pond, the ever-changing colors of the sunrise, and I think. I think of the Lord who made this. I see that clump of reeds at the edge of the pond and think, “If just that was found on Mars today, it would be front page news across the world tomorrow.” And yet we rarely think of the richness of Earth and the legion of gifts that are ours as a result. God is so good.
I watch the great blue heron stand guard on the far side of the pond, waiting for breakfast. Two turtles try to climb aboard the fountain an hour before the timer clicks and the aeration begins. I wonder why they quickly clamber down from the shelf then. Were they afraid of getting wet? They live in water.
The colors of the sunrise are phenomenal and fleeting, gone in a moment, this scene never to be repeated. What an amazing world we have been given. What an amazing God.
My eyes tear up and I raise my hand in silent worship. I am so unworthy.
And so are you. God is good.
I remember what Peter said.
Jesus said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:4-8)
What was going on there? I think I know.
Peter was so overcome by the kindness of the Lord. The wisdom. The generosity. The superiority. “What manner of man is this?” people used to ask ((Matthew 8:27). What manner indeed? “Never man spake like this man,” they said (John 7:46).
Peter immediately realized he was in the presence of the Holy One exercising His divine power, and he was stricken with shame over his own sin. –-John MacArthur
I know the feeling, don’t you?
So unworthy. So ashamed. So convicted.
Job said, I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee. And I repent in sackcloth and ashes. (Job 42:5,6)
It’s the essence of worship. We are in the presence of God, and in that blinding light we see something that is so out of place, we are ashamed. That shameful thing is our heart. “God help me,” we think.
When Isaiah saw the Lord (“high and lifted up”), he said, Woe is me, for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people just like me! For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!(Isaiah 6:5).
Until that moment, he had no doubt felt pretty good about himself. He was living among a lot of self-centered, carnal people, to be sure, but he could pride himself on being no worse than they were. And then in one moment, everything changed. His perspective was reworked and his self-awareness got an overhaul.
–My eyes have seen the King.
–Depart from me, O Lord, for I am unworthy.
–Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in sackcloth and ashes.
I wish for you that experience at least once in your life. You will never be the same thereafter.