After flying more than eighteen hours, my husband Jim and I finally arrived in Bangkok, Thailand. A government vehicle had been dispatched to meet us and drive us to our hotel. We wanted to rest and be fresh for our meeting in the morning with the King. Jim would be presenting the monarch with a silk Thai flag (mounted and framed) that had been aboard his Apollo 15 flight. Small flags from every state in the United Nations had been on that space journey. These flags would be presented to the heads of each country that the astronauts planned to visit.
After our quick breakfast, the same driver returned to take us to the royal palace. When we arrived, we saw acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, and buildings which had colorful gargoyles attached.
A palace guard ushered us into a waiting room where we were approached by an aide. He made sure that we were comfortable then switched on a video about the palace grounds and the Thai countryside. When the show was finished, we waited and waited. After what seemed like an inordinate amount of time that a scheduled guest should be kept waiting, the aide reappeared. He informed us that the king had an emergency and had left immediately to tend to the crisis. Jim and I looked at each other in disappointment. The aide asked us if we would like a tour of the palace grounds and the buildings, then volunteered to be our escort.
We saw buildings with wooden double doors of at least ten feet tall, five feet wide, and six inches thick. The first room we entered held many of the historical litters that had carried the royal families during parades and coronations. These shoulder-carried seats were covered in colored pieces of mosaic glass and bits of shiny metal. In the room were hung life-sized portraits of each of the former queens.
As we entered the last building, we were asked to remove our shoes. The aide told us that we were only the second group of people to walk on the lush, purple-green carpet which the king had originally installed for President Ronald Reagan's visit. This was the throne room. The only furniture here was the ornately-carved wooden throne sitting on a platform about fifteen feet long. There were three wooden steps the same length as the platform. The walls displayed paintings of each king that had sat upon the throne.
The awesomeness was discernable. None of us spoke. I studied each painting not wanting to miss any of the details. One painting kept drawing me back. I was standing in the same place as the artist who had painted the scene. As I stood there trying to absorb its, meaning, I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me. This is what I heard. "This is what the fear of the LORD is - that you know nothing about." So that was why I was drawn to that particular picture. God had to bring me all the way to Thailand to teach me a lesson! The most profound concept of the painting was that there were only two people in it; the king who was seated on his throne, and one of his subjects who was kneeling and bowing with his face to the floor. The artist had conveyed 'the fear of his lord.'
I thought about the scripture in Proverbs 9:10 that reads, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Here, the word 'fear' is not one which means 'to make afraid', but means to be in so much awe of our GOD that we would give him nothing less than complete obedience and respect. We would never want to grieve Him by our words, thoughts, or acts.
Through the experience that day in the royal throne room, I learned what it means to know the awesome reverence of the LORD.