Scripture Reference: Isaiah 55:6-9, Isaiah 57:15, Hebrews 11:6
The Lie That God Thinks Like We DoDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | October 10, 1999
Selected highlights from this sermon
God doesn’t think like we do. For example, He sees sin and grace differently. If someone murders someone, then later becomes a believer in Christ, that person has been redeemed and will be in heaven. But we can’t even fathom something like that happening.
And yet our “minor” sins (lies, half-truths, bad thoughts, etc.) are still sins and can keep us out of heaven if we haven’t trusted Christ as our Savior.
We must be careful about our view of God. What we think of Him must be in line with what is revealed about Him in the Bible—not based on what we want Him to be.
Pastor Lutzer quotes from Donald W. McCullough’s “The Trivialization of God”
Art Linkletter said that he was watching a child scrawling something on a piece of paper, and he said to him, “What are you drawing?” And the boy said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” Linkletter said, “Nobody can do that because nobody knows what God looks like.” He said, “Oh yeah? They will when I get through.” (laughter)
The question is what does God look like? If you were with us last time you know that I spoke about a conception of God that was really not human enough. I argued that God is a god of emotions, and that Jesus not only suffered on the cross but God the Father suffered on the cross. But today I’m going to deal with an opposite and more prevalent error. It is the idea that God is too human. He is too much like us.
As you know, this is a series of messages titled Ten Lies About God, and today we come to number four. And the fourth lie is that God thinks like we do. We recreate God in our own image. It’s a terrible, terrible mistake.
In a very good book by Donald McCluff entitled The Trivialization of God he says as we end one century and go into another perhaps the worst sin is the trivialization of God in the church. And that’s why when we come to church we often don’t expect to encounter God. We come so casually just as if encountering God is a familiar thing, and everybody does it. And he says these words, “We prefer the illusions of a safer deity, so we have paired God down to more manageable proportions.”
Let me ask you a question. What comes to your mind when you think of the word idolatry? Is it a group of primitive people dancing around objects made of gold and silver? That’s part of it, but that’s only a sliver of what the Bible teaches about idolatry. Idolatry is any conception of God that is a false conception that we attribute to Him. That is idolatry. As a matter of fact, idolatry is simply having thoughts that are unworthy of God. You have created a god in your mind, perhaps even a god that you worship, but the god that you worship is not the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why did Israel begin with idolatry when Moses was up on the mountain? Do you remember what they said? They said, “As for this man, Moses, we know not what has become of him.” What they were saying is, “Look, this God who revealed Himself with all that terror is distant. He’s not meeting all of our needs. We want a god who is more present. We want a god that we can see, a god that is more manageable.”
Why is it that today people create all these images of God that are idolatrous? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is because oftentimes the God of Christianity is looked at as being too distant, too removed, and too unconcerned. People say, “If He is all powerful, and if He has all might and all knowledge, why the Holocaust, why the suffering that takes place, why the terrible, terrible tragedies of today?” That’s one reason. There’s another reason. People say, “You know, the God of the Bible is too judgmental. We need one that is a little bit more tolerant of who we are, who understands us just a little bit better,” and as a result, idols are manufactured.
In fact, Calvin said that our minds are idol factories, constantly spewing out idolatrous thoughts about God because what you find when people make their own conception of God there are several things you’ll know about it. First of all, it is a god who is manageable, a god who allows me to be in charge at all times. It is a god who is a substitute for the true God, and it is a god who allows me to live the way I want to live. I maintain control.
In America today people go god shopping. The imagery is the cafeteria. That’s a very important imagery because when I’m going through a cafeteria and I’m selecting this and I’m selecting that, first of all, I remain in charge. I make my decision so I am fully informed, and I eat what I desire. That’s number one.
Number two, the imagery of a cafeteria means that I can’t judge people who select something different from me. So today we have cafeteria religion. You take a little bit of eastern mysticism, you add a tad of Buddhism, you throw in some verses of Scripture, and then a whole lot from your own experience, and you come up with a conception of deity that is just right for you, and you certainly can’t judge the person next to you whose concoction, whose conception is different from yours. And so that’s where we are.
Karl Barth, the great Swiss theologian, said very accurately that there are only two ways to construct an idea of God. One way is to begin with man, and having begun with man, to then project as to what God is like. And the other way is to begin with God, and see what He has revealed.
So what I’m going to do in the next few moments is this. First of all, we’re going to talk about various conceptions of God that have been manmade. Secondly, we’re going to contrast that with the God of the Bible who is going to shatter all of our idolatrous thoughts about Him. And we’re going to ask the question about the possibility of coming to know Him, and what rewards there might be attached to such a knowledge and to such a pursuit. That’s where we’re going.
First of all, these unbiblical conceptions of God! Now I’m going to give you five or six very quickly. I will only list them and make a comment or two, and some of these are not entirely wrong. Some of them have a mixture of truth and error. A few are completely wrong, and perhaps even blasphemous. So let’s go.
First of all, there’s the god of my health and wealth. It’s the god who is there to make me prosperous. It’s the god of western capitalism. God becomes my financial advisor. He becomes my ATM. Gloria Copeland wrote, “The Word of God simply reveals that lack and poverty are not in line with God’s will for the obedient. Allow the Holy Spirit to minister this truth to you until you know beyond a doubt that God’s will is prosperity.” And what she means is diamonds and cars and houses. I think the martyrs in the Early Church would have been shocked to discover that God’s will for them was material prosperity. I don’t think you could preach this message in Haiti or Angola. I don’t think you could even preach it in Belarus or some of the Eastern European countries that my wife and I have visited, but it’s the god of my prosperity. Here America is so concerned about success and prosperity, is it any wonder that we should drag God into the equation, make Him our servant so that we have a god of my personal prosperity?
Let me give you another one. The god of my favorite cause! Here I’m thinking of such things as radical feminism. Radical feminism says that male dominance has created a lot of hurt. It has stifled women, etc. and you open the Bible and it is a male book from beginning to end. God is spoken of as father, as king, as master. What we need to do, the radicals say, is to realize that if God is a male, then males will think they are God. So what we have to do is we have to retranslate the Bible and come up with inclusive language to chisel out all of these male references to God so that we can have a God finally that women can worship. And so one writer says that God is really the goddess of the primal matrix, the great womb from which everything has come.
Now before we criticize this view we do have to hear what these women are saying. Let’s be very sensitive here and realize that the Bible has often been used to justify a kind of male dominance that is harsh and uncaring and oppressive, and we stand against that. And so let’s remember that many of these women are hurting women. But at the same time, is the answer really for us to take the Bible and hymnals and lectionaries and change them to goddess rather than god or some kind of inclusive language that is gender neutral? Do we have the right to do that? I don’t think so.
I want you to know in passing that whenever you begin to have this kind of female emphasis on deity, you always slip into pagan religions, and this can be seen in radical feminism where you end up in a major denomination actually having a conference where they worship Sophia the Goddess in that reimaging conference that received so much publicity. That’s where it goes. But further, whether you like it or not, the Bible talks about male headship, God being male. Now, of course, every theologian knows that God is neither male nor female. Male and femaleness have only to do with creation. God is certainly not male, but that’s the way He is represented to us, and we must find out why God has been so represented. The answer is not to try to take the Scriptures and reinterpret them so that we have a goddess that women can worship. Then men can have their own god and women have their own god. No, that’s idolatry.
Let me give you another one - the god of my sexuality! There’s a growing body of gay literature (homosexual literature) that takes the Bible, looking at it through new eyes, through new ways of interpretation, and comes out saying that God is in favor of the gay lifestyle. Now let’s be very careful here as well because oftentimes the church has been very judgmental, very oppressive, and many of these folks who so want to so interpret the Scriptures, bless them, have often been the targets of focused judgmentalism with Christians who live with all kinds of other sins. But then we take the gay lifestyle and we use it, and therefore it becomes the point of contention and judgmentalism, so let’s feel their pain. But is the answer that we should take God and make Him more tolerant?
And then I think of a book that was written many years ago that said that any loving relationship is sanctioned by God – heterosexual, homosexual, whatever! So you have today the god of my sexuality. “My god would never do that,” people say, not realizing that they may be talking about an idol.
Let me give you another one – the god of my emotional need! Today oftentimes the Bible is preached with the language not of Scripture but the language of psychology. God exists, we are told, and the reason that He does is that God might help our rehabilitation. We don’t need to be redeemed. We need to be rehabilitated, and He exists there for no other reason than to make me whole. And God does help people to become whole, but the emphasis in Scripture is redemption. It is not rehabilitation.
Let me give you another one – the god of my nation! I need to tread softly here, but those of us who perhaps have roots in other countries see this clearly sometimes in the great wonderful country of the United States where somehow God is on the side of the United States, and whatever is good for America is also good for God. He is our God. It is the God of Christianity wrapped in a flag. Or we could say perhaps as a sub-point, the god of my race.
Here’s another one – the god of my personal notions! I bought the book, Conversations with God, because I had heard so much about it. Neale Donald Walsch wrote the book. Actually he didn’t write it so much as simply write down what some being came and told him. If you are acquainted with occult literature you know that automatic writing is a part of occultism. And he began to write and somehow the words came to him and he’s having conversations with God.
Well, God says, among other things, that feelings are important. Words aren’t. Your will is really God’s will for you. And God has no preferences about the way in which you live. And when you read the book, should you be surprised when you discover that God agrees with everything that Neale Donald Walsch agrees with? It is the god of my personal notions. God agrees with me completely because I have created this idol.
Now friends, I want you to know that there is a spate of books by the hundreds written along that line, books that will say that actually we are the ones who are in charge, God approves of whatever we do. In fact, some go so far as to say that there is no evil, there is no sin (mistakes, but no sin and no evil).
One day I was on a plane riding, I think it was to Atlanta, not too long ago, with a young woman sitting next to me, and we began to talk about religion, and I steered the conversation in that direction. And she said that she did not believe in evil. And I thought, “Wow, this is really interesting.” So I brought up the famous name, you know, that everybody brings up when you talk about evil. I said, “What about Hitler?” And she said, “Hitler was not evil and Hitler did not sin.” She said, “He made some unwise choices.” (laughter) And then she added in total postmodern terms, “His preferences were those with which I disagree (I was glad to hear that), but he did not sin, and evil did not exist.” Fully totally postmodern! Her god was whatever she wanted him to be.
You know, of course, in New Age literature you end up being God obviously. I read this past week about a patient who was seeing a psychiatrist. And the psychiatrist was so weary of this person. The patient was so messed up and so confused, and the man had spent hours with him and wasn’t able to help him so finally the psychiatrist sat down and said, “Look, I haven’t been able to help you. You are so confused.” He said, “I want to hear your story again but this time begin from the beginning.” And the man said, “Okay, I’ll begin from the beginning.” He said, “In the beginning I created the heavens and the earth.” (laughter) Is it any wonder that we are confused?
When God says, “I am that I am,” He was saying, “I am that I am and not what you want Me to be.” How we manufacture idols! Jesus comes on the pages of Scripture and just explodes them like an iconoclast. He comes in and He leaves them shattered on the floor. How in the world can we believe in the god of wealth when Jesus said, “The foxes have holes; the birds of the air have nests, but I have nowhere to put My head?” How can we believe in the god of my special cause, my gender, when He uses such gender-laden words when He says, “He who honors the Son honors the Father, and to dishonor the Son is to dishonor the Father who sent Him?” How can we believe in the god of my sexuality when Jesus approved the Old Testament and said, “He who looks upon a woman to lust has committed adultery in his heart?” How can we believe that God is nothing but my personal therapist when He said that He came to seek and to save that which was lost? How can we say that God is the god of my nation when Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world?” And how can we possibly believe that God is the god of my personal ideas and notions and imaginations when He said, “All things have been committed to me by My Father, and no man knows the Father except the Son, and no man knows the Son except the Father, and to whomsoever the Son wills to reveal Him.” Wow!
Are you talking about the same god who tells me that everything that I want to do is right and He has no preference regarding my life style? What kind of a god is that? It’s an idolatrous god.
Listen to the text of today. Isaiah 55:6-9 (one of the texts of the day): “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
And you believed that what you wrote down – the conception of the mind – could be attributed to this God whose thoughts are above ours, whose ways are above ours the same distance as the earth is from heaven. Can we even know this God? Well, the answer is yes because even though our knowledge of Him is only partial, and we know only a little part of what He has given to us, we can study the Scriptures but there’s still this vast unknown. After all, His thoughts are so much higher than ours, and His ways so much higher. Partial knowledge is not necessarily inaccurate knowledge. We do know some things about God, but do we know fully? No. The Scripture says that we see through a glass darkly, but we do see. But sometimes it’s very murky, and when we try to figure out God’s ways, we suddenly discover that indeed His ways are unfathomable.
Now take your Bibles (You are in Isaiah 55.) and turn one page to Isaiah 57. Notice what the text says here in verse 15. “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”
I want to contrast the gods that we were just talking about (the idols) with the true and the living God. What can be said about this God? Karl Barth was right when he said, “We cannot begin with man and begin to reason up and project on God our image. We must begin with what He has revealed, and He says that He is the high and the holy one who lives forever, and He lives in a high and holy place.”
First of all, He is a god who hides. Luther, I think, was right when he said, “Even when God reveals Himself, He remains hidden.” He speaks here in the text about being the One who lives forever. Have you ever wondered what it was like when God was alone before creation? And God was fully satisfied because of the Trinity. His needs were met. There was a relationship there that was entirely fulfilling, and there was God from everlasting to everlasting. He is God! And then suddenly He chose to create, and creation helps us get a bit of a window on His immensity, doesn’t it?
When you stop to think of it, light travels 186,000 miles a second. That means it hustles around the world about seven times every single second. The light from the sun, which is 93 million miles away, takes eight minutes, so the sun that warms you when you are out there on the beach left eight minutes ago before it did you any good, or as the case may be, before it did you any harm. But there you are. You are enjoying it and it took eight minutes hustling at 186,000 miles a second.
But Orion, the star, takes 527 years for the light of that star to reach the earth. Now in 1517 Martin Luther, you remember, went down to the Castle Church in Germany and nailed the 95 theses on the door. The light that left on that day in 1517 still isn’t here. You say, “Oh, where have you been? I mean have you been having coffee along the way? What are you so slow about? 186,000 miles a second!” And you know, unless I live as long as my father, I probably will be dead by the time that light gets here. And that’s just one small star that’s really just next door if you look at the universe, which spans the limits of our imagination of hundreds of millions of light years, and new galaxies are being discovered and billions upon billions and billions and billions of stars.
Do you think we can take that God and put Him in our little mold and co-opt him and say, “My little image is the right image?” I don’t think so. You think of His immensity. Immediately therefore we are led to His unknowability. Oh, I know that we do know something about Him, as we’ll point out in a moment, but there’s a part of Him that is inscrutable. The Scripture says, and we sometimes sing it (Don’t we?):
Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised,
And His greatness is unfathomable.
No matter what conception you have of God’s greatness there is always something about Him that is much greater, and it cannot be traced out.
I don’t know about you, but do you ever have really silly thoughts about God like I do? I remember thinking about this when I was a boy. I was thinking to myself, “You know, God exists from one end of eternity to the other, and from one end of space to the other however far those ends go, and He’s beyond His creation obviously.” But I’m saying to myself, “He knows all things. Is His knowledge localized somewhere?” I mean I know my knowledge is somehow localized in my brain, and I usually carry my brain around with my body. The two so far have always gone places together. But you know, does all of His knowledge exist to the farthest star? Does the knowledge permeate the whole universe? Is it somehow localized? I don’t know. All that I know is that His ways are inscrutable. They are past finding out, the text says.
Zophar, in the book of Job, asked Job this question. He said: “Can you, by searching, find out God? Can you find out the holy one to perfection? Are you going to tell me that you can discern God and you can go into His presence, and you can know all about Him? Is that what you are telling me?”
John Wesley said, “Bring me a worm that understands a man, and I will bring you a man who can understand the Triune God.” There is much about God that we do not know.
Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments. Did you notice it? How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out. For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor, or to whom has He given anything and He’s got to return it? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to whom be glory and dominion and power forever and ever, Amen.
It’s not the god of the New Age Movement that people have in their hip pocket. It’s not the god of contemporary America cafeteria religion. This is a different god entirely.
You say, “What is its relevance?” Well, we just read it, did we not? “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him?’ says the Holy One. ‘Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.’ Why do you say, ‘O Jacob,’ and speak, ‘O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.”
You can’t understand Him but the text is saying, “Though you can’t understand Him, He is honored when you trust Him.” If He is this great God, why don’t you entrust Him with your injustices? They have not escaped His attention.
So first of all, God hides. There’s much about Him that we do not know. The reason I want to emphasize that is I need to tell you that the difficult messages in this series are still in the future. And what I want to do is to lay down right here the fact that we need to find out what God has revealed even if we don’t fully understand the why.
For example, the next message in this series is going to deal with the issue of whether or not God is obligated to save people of other religions. And I’m going to say, “No, that’s not what the Scripture teaches.” Can you think of how politically incorrect that is? Can you imagine some of the letters that I’m going to receive when I’m going to speak that? And if you ask me why, I may not know why, but it is my responsibility to find out what God has said. It is not my responsibility to know all the whys and the wherefores.
Look at the problem of evil. I don’t think that there is any problem that has so vexed my spirit both philosophically and theologically and emotionally as the problem of evil. If God loves us why all these tragedies, which obviously could be prevented as we’re going to point out? There may not be an intellectually totally satisfying answer. Can we trust Him and believe Him and simply confess that His ways are past finding out?
First of all, God hides. “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
‘I dwell in the high and holy place.’” We call it transcendence. But God also seeks. You know the Scripture says that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, seeking those whose hearts are perfect towards him. That’s the incredible contrast. Notice! “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
And may I say that there is an unbreakable link between Part A in that verse and Part B? Could you imagine being in the presence of God who is most holy, the lofty and the holy one, and not having a contrite heart? Is it even thinkable? Do you think that people are going to waltz into God’s presence, thinking they are going to impress Him, if they are coming into the presence of the living God, who knows every last single hidden thing? Are you thinking that? No, of course not!
Calvin said these words: “Without the knowledge of God there is no knowledge of the self.” He said he is certain that no man achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating God to scrutinizing himself.
You know, the reason we’ve lost our way is because we’ve lost God, and so people don’t know themselves. They write books about the self like, “One day my soul opened up,” or some other book about conversations with God, or the celestial prophecy, and a hundred other books like that all about the soul. But the problem is there is no way that people can know the soul unless they first know God. Our opinions are skewed.
There is a story about a factory that would have a whistle that would go off at 12 noon exactly every day. And there was also a town clock, and as these two were in sync, and they always were, the townspeople began to wonder about the crazy time that it was beginning to be. And then they discovered something. The factory gauged its whistle by the town clock, but the town clock was always corrected in accordance with the whistle at the factory.
The problem is without some objective standard, without God, we don’t know who we are. All that I want you to know is that your soul is much more sinful than you ever know it to be. The Bible says, in fact, “Who can even know the human heart?” You have no idea who you are until you are in God’s presence.
Listen to what was said in the New York Times: “Sin isn’t something that many people, including most churches, have spent time talking about or worrying about during the years of the sexual revolution. But we will say this for sin, at least an awkward reference for personal behavior. And when the frame was dismantled, guilt wasn’t the only thing that fell away. We also lost our guide wire of personal responsibility. Everyone was left on his or her own. It now appears that many wrecked people could have used a road map. Ministers and priests gave way voluntarily to clinics and counselors,” and it goes on to say that today parents can hardly even talk to their children, and are told they shouldn’t talk to them about sin because they wouldn’t understand anyway. We have lost our way.
What does God offer us when we come to Him in His presence? Well, first of all, of course, we begin to understand who we are. We are sinners. But also we begin to understand His grace. The passage that was read earlier said: “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Come. Forsake your ways and He will abundantly pardon.” Now, we are offended because we are sinners, but we are also offended at God’s generous forgiveness when we come to know Him in Jesus Christ.
Remember when the Columbine shootings took place, what was it? Thirteen young people shot, and they had 15 crosses, two of them also representing the shooters. And people in the community complained and said, “Take those two crosses down because we should not honor them.” You see, the cross of Jesus Christ not only reminds us of sin, but it also reminds us of grace, and we do not like grace when it is given to people who we think don’t deserve it.
It is said that Ted Bundy, who killed 28 young women many years ago, accepted Christ as Savior before he was executed. Now I’m not sure of that, but let’s suppose that the story is true. He will be in heaven. And there’s something within me, particularly if one of those women had been my daughter, that says that he ought to burn, and I resent the fact that he’s going to be in heaven. That’s part of grace. God thinks differently than we do about sin, but he also thinks differently than we do about grace. He is the God who gives us His love and His grace.
But now, He’s a God who hides, He’s a God who seeks, who ministers grace, but He’s also a God who rewards. I come now to the most important challenge of this message. In Hebrews 11:6 it says that he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him out.
In the fourteenth century there was a book written entitled The Cloud of Unknowing. I checked it out of the library this week. It’s a fourteenth century book, of course, with modern translations and updates, but this mystic was contemplating God, and he used this analogy. He said, “Between us and God there is a cloud.” And he said, “Behind the cloud is the Divine presence. But in this life, no matter how far we go along, we always have that cloud of unknowing. There is so much about God that we do not know, but rather than letting that discourage us, it encourages us to press further and further to know Him as far as He can be known in this life. And those who are consumed with that passion are the ones who get to rejoice in God.”
I quoted this verse in the service this morning earlier: “Let those who seek God rejoice. Let them be glad.” Finally this raging thirst within us is quenched in the presence of the living God, and the more we know Him, the more we love Him. And it keeps pursuing us until on and on we go to find out God and all we can possibly know and experience.
There is a story about a farmer who had an orchard and he planted some very sour apples around the outer part because these apples would fall on the other side of the fence and the kids would eat them. But they were so bitter and sour the kids never bothered going into the orchard. But inside the orchard where he invited his friends, that’s where all the sweetness was, and all the refreshment.
You know, Christianity is a little bit like that. On the perimeter you get these ideas of sin and conviction. And we don’t like that. We don’t want a God before whom we must bow. We want a God whom we can control. So you get all of this hard theology, and you get this whole problem of people sometimes being a disappointment to you. But once you get through all of that and you begin to pursue God in the Scriptures, and you begin to seek Him and wait on Him, the refreshment of strength and encouragement and sheer joy begins to come to you. And God becomes what C. S. Lewis called the “all satisfying object.”
Now here’s what happens in the Christian life. There are people who are pursuing God and then they come to a barrier. Maybe it’s an addiction in their lives. Maybe it is some sin. Maybe it is some bitterness. And they never get beyond it. That’s where they stay. What God wants us to do is to break through those barriers and keep pressing forward, forward, forward until we know Him as well as we can. And suddenly the rest that we look for is ours, and the cleansing that we desire is ours because “We find our all in Thee,” as Augustine said.
And by the way, there have been saints who have so desired God, they have so thirsted for Him, and to quote Augustine again, he said, “Oh Lord, it is said no man can see Thee and live. Let me die that I might behold Thy face.” Blessed are those who see God that way. And the promise is that He rewards those who diligently seek Him out.
John Piper, whose wonderful books have been a blessing to so many people, says that God is most glorified in us when we are satisfied with Him. What does the text say? “He comes to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite, and to meet the deepest level of our thirst and need.” Blessed are those who seek Him out.
He hides. Much about Him we’ll never know. He seeks. May we be among those who respond! He rewards. Let’s go for it. Let’s go for God.
The hymn writer wrote:
There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest
Near to the heart of God.
Jesus, oh blessed Redeemer,
Hold us near to the heart of God.
Let us pray.
Our Father, would You create within us a thirst for You? Would You help us to see ourselves as You see us, but then not wallow there but move on? Move on to restoration and forgiveness and cleansing and sheer joy - joy without proper circumstances, joy without guilt, joy without regret – just sheer joy. May we delight ourselves in You, we pray, that You might be honored in us!
If you’ve never received Christ as Savior, this would be the time to do it. You know the Bible says that no man has seen God at any time but the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father. He has declared Him. Christ is the starting point. The gift of salvation is free. The pursuit of God is a lifelong challenge. You pray to God right now.
Father, we pray that You might take our feeble words, and we pray that You might overcome all human weaknesses and do Your work in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.