In 1950 , C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This book is an allegory in which Aslan, a powerful lion (representing Jesus) had to die so that Edmund (a young man deceived by a witch) could live.

In my judgment, one of the most contemplative lines in the entire book comes when the children first learned about Aslan. When they were told that Aslan was a lion, one of the children said that since he was a lion, she would probably be nervous standing before him. Looking for reassurance, she then asked if he was “safe.” The response she received is in much need of contemplation. She was told, “Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

I’m fearful that we live during a time when we have lost all fear of God. We approach him with very little trepidation, forgetting (if we ever knew) that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Our culture has become casual and irreverent, and to an alarming extent, this attitude has spilled over into the church.

How else do we explain the lack of respect for God’s word, the flippant and casual way in which we sometimes approach him in worship, and the presumptuous liberties we take without his authority? Friends, God is good, but he isn’t safe.

King Uzziah discovered this truth the hard way. Uzziah was made king of Judah at the age of sixteen, and he reigned for fifty-two years, doing what was right in the sight of God (2 Chronicles 26:1-4). However, Uzziah got careless, allowed his heart to be filled with pride, and attempted to burn incense to God, which was the job of the priests. Eighty priests attempted to stop him, but he wouldn’t listen. Consequently, God struck him with leprosy, and he went to his grave as a leper (2 Chronicles 26:16-23). Although Uzziah was King of God’s people, and served him faithfully for many years, he learned the hard way that God is not safe, but he is good.

Let us learn from King Uzziah’s mistake. Let us remember that God is not one to be trifled with. He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is “greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints...” (Psalm 89:7). Approach him with respect and reverence. He is not tame. He is not safe. But he is good.

—Steve Higginbotham