The Man Upstairs?

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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In his song entitled “Unanswered Prayers,” country singer Garth Brooks refers to God as “the Man upstairs.” Similar phrases referring to Almighty God include: the Big Man, my Co-pilot, my Homeboy, my Golf-buddy, or simply JC. The user may not intend it this way, but such references are highly disrespectful, and reveal a lack of understanding about who and what our Great High God really is.

When the Apostle John encountered the Lord Jesus Christ, who was instructing him to write what would be revealed to him, he said, “I fell at his feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). Notice there was nothing casual in John’s response. Why? When the Lord Jesus Christ spoke, it was with “a great voice, as of a trumpet” (vs. 10). “His eyes were as a flame of fire” (vs. 14), and “His countenance was as the sun” (vs. 16).

This brief picture, and the reaction of a mere man in the presence of God, is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Isaiah says he saw “the Lord…high and lifted up” with dynamic angelic hosts attending Him crying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts” (Isa. 6:1-3). Isaiah’s response was not casual or irreverent. He said, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (vs. 5).

People of old had a far greater reverence for the Lord. King David described his great God by saying, “The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength…Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting” (Psa. 93:1-2). He continued, “God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness” as He reigns over all men (Psalm 47:8). He’s not just a co-pilot or a buddy. Balak declared, “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Num. 23:19).

The Lord tells us this is because, “…My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). In the context of all this information, the Lord Jesus said of the Father, “Hallowed [meaning holy or sacred] be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

It would be appropriate to lovingly share articles such as this with lost souls who lack understanding of God’s holiness and magnificence. More importantly, in humility, we believers need always to show great reverence to the Lord and to His name.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

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