Before the children encounter Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr. Beaver is trying to describe what Aslan is like when he is interrupted by Susan, who seems to have an exaggerated need for her personal security, asks “Is he—quite safe?” To which Mr. Beaver replies, “Who said anything about safe”? “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Later in the narrative when the group finally meets Aslan, C.S. Lewis’s narrator tells us, “But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.”
This image of Aslan, who is both good and terrible at the same time, is particularly challenging for Christians who think of God as their safe, huggable bestest buddy. While the Lord is certainly good, compassionate and approachable, He is also fear-inspiring and awesome!
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”John 2:15-17
A friend and I were discussing what impresses us? Apart from the athletic achievements of those like Michael Jordan or the financial prowess of investors like Warren Buffet, we’re not impressed by much. Have we lost our awe when it comes to God? We certainly have lost the meaning of the word ‘awesome.’
In the Old Testament there’s a story about a Queen who travels a far distance at great personal expense to meet King Solomon to hear of his wisdom, experience his greatness and to learn of his God. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. There was no more spirit in her. Her knees became weak and she felt faint when she saw his magnificence.
Sure, she was impressed by his wealth and wisdom, but she was most impressed by the sincerity of his devotion to the Lord in the manner in which he went up to the house of the Lord. Solomon was soooo Great, but he went to the Lord with all Humility and Devotion with generous sacrifices. In all his greatness and splendor, he was humble before the God of Israel. And this greatly impressed her because NEVER HAD SHE SEEN SO MUCH GOODNESS ACCOMPANIED BY SO MUCH GREATNESS. Such humility accompanied by such majesty! And this overwhelmed her to the point where there was no more spirit in her. She was amazed, she had never seen the likes of Solomon.
Yet we can be so unimpressed by the One he worships. Jesus says in Luke 11:31- “One Greater than Solomon is Here.”