Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. –C. S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”
God rarely does anything as we would have done it or expected it.
In the 8th century B.C., God told Israel, “Your thoughts are not my 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” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
So, when God got ready to put His earth-saving plan into effect, we may expect it to be different. Vastly different from how we would have done it.
The problem is spelled out in Psalm 50:21. God says the people lied and cheated and did a hundred bad things. Then, “These things you have done and I kept silent. And you thought I was just like you.”
We think God is like us. The ultimate folly. We expect Him to do what we would do. It just seems reasonable.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26). “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30).
Ask any scientist.
Nothing is too small for God to take notice. If the atom obeys set laws and the microscopic universe is predictable to us humans, if the computer can be reduced to an astonishingly tiny entity, if hummingbirds and honeybees can do all they do, surely the Creator God has charge of the details.
The details are pretty impressive, I think you’ll have to agree.
Every baby in the womb. Every child. Every widow. Every elderly. Every prisoner. Everyone.
Every word. Every act. Every leaf of every tree. Every flower of every meadow.
God is big enough to handle the little things.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits!” (Psalm 68:19).
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
A friend prompted me to write something about how the Lord takes care of His children. And he gave me story after story of the Lord doing that in his life.
–Like the time he asked the church leadership to help him get that needy family into a house and pay the deposits, requiring an outlay of $468. When they refused, he paid the sum himself. A few days later, the bank informed him they had misfigured his mortgage insurance and refunded him in the amount of $468.
–Or the time he asked the leadership to purchase a new van for the church. He explained that he and the youth minister were racking up heavy miles on their personal vehicles and the church should do this. When they refused, God gave him a vehicle. The local power company gets rid of one of their passenger-hauling pickup trucks each year, and our friend won it. “It had 200k miles on it,” he said, “but had been meticulously maintained.” Last year, he put 20,000 miles on it in the Lord’s service.
That sort of thing. On and on.
Yes, He does take care of His own is my response to my friend. But….
“Come now and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).
“Why should it be thought incredible by you that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).
If there is a God, and if this God is the omnipotent Creator of the universe, then a thousand questions are settled.
–If God is God, then raising the dead should be no big deal. After all, He made the universe of nothing and made humans from the dust of the earth, so anything after that should be a piece of cake.
–If this God exists, then the Person of Jesus Christ with all that Scripture affirms about Him is completely logical. Jesus said, “No one has been to Heaven except the One who came from there, even the Son of Man,” referring to Himself (John 3:13).
–If God is God, then a Virgin Birth is no more miraculous than any other birth, which is to say, every birth is a miracle of the highest order. Ask any new parent holding their treasure for the first time.
–If God is God, then the miracles Jesus worked during His earthly years were little more than child’s play. Turn water to wine, feed thousands with a child’s lunch, heal the blind, raise the dead. This is the God who spoke the worlds into being (Hebrews 11:3). What’s the problem?
“Hear and understand. Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Matthew 15:11).
How’s that again, Lord?
It would be easy here to say the Lord Jesus did not understand microscopic things like bacteria, viruses, and germ warfare. Louis Pasteur was still eighteen centuries in the future.
Surely what we put into our mouths matters.
If Jesus were Who He claimed to be, and the One Scripture declares Him to have been, He knew the importance of cleanliness and purity.
It’s little things like this that trip up some modern readers. Reading the Bible, they get hung up on terms like “the four corners of the world,” “the sun rising,” and heaven being “up there somewhere”–all colloquialisms which we understand and use every day, but which cause problems for those looking for some reason to disbelieve the Holy Word.
But that’s not the entire story.
“The Word was God…..The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1,14).
“No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27 and Luke 10:22.)
Try explaining God.
We’ll wait. Let us know when you’re ready.
Oh, when you’re done with that, tell us how Jesus is both fully man and fully God. And how God is One, but He’s also Father, Son, and Spirit.
If you decide to punt–and simply dismiss the entire discussion as man’s futile attempt to define an unknowable God–then the discussion ends there. God’s people who love the Word and believe it want to understand how it all fits together, what each piece is saying about our Lord, and thus to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18).
We never go wrong trying to understand God’s Word. And the best commentary on the Word of God is the rest of the Word of God.
“O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33).
“These things you have done, and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21).
For some reason, at the very time we need God’s great love and power, we keep trying to make Him less than He is.
Which is laughable, when you stop to think about it.
This is the God who created the far reaches of this universe with its distances and complexities and components. And we’re going to reduce Him and make Him like one of us? Truly laughable.
Many say there has never been such an election as this.
Whether that’s the case or not depends on when you lived. John Adams felt that if the country elected Thomas Jefferson as president, it was all over. Much of the country felt in 1860 that if Abraham Lincoln was elected, the nation could not survive. It almost didn’t. And throughout FDR’s four terms, people spoke of him in the bitterest of ways, calling him a dictator, saying whoever assassinated him was doing the nation a favor.
We’ve always had tough elections and flawed candidates.
And now–in 2016–we have the latest incarnation of flawed candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
An evangelist friend said this week that he finds both candidates repulsive. He plans, however, “to hold my nose and cast my vote” on November 8.
Some years ago, the well-known astronomer Hugh Ross and I were taking part in a radio talk show at Ohio State University. We were discussing some theme related to the origin of the universe when an irate woman called in and began to attack us with a volley of words. Her charge was that our conversation was really nothing more than a smoke screen for reversing Roe versus Wade and taking away a woman’s right to an abortion. Remember, we were talking about the origin of the universe.
Throughout her tirade, she repeatedly insisted, “it’s my moral right to do what I choose to do with my body!” Finally, when she paused for a breath, I said, ‘All right, ma’am, since you brought it up, I’d like to ask you a question. Can you explain something to me? When a plane crashes and some die while others live, a skeptic calls into question God’s moral character, saying that he has chosen some to live and others to die on a whim; yet you say it is your moral right to choose whether the child within you should live or die. Does that not sound odd to you? When God decides who should live or die, he is immoral. When you decide who should live or die, it’s your moral right.
There was a pin-drop silence. (–Ravi Zacharias in The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists)
To me, the amazing thing is that the abortionists will frequently claim to be Christians. In fact, they will claim the exclusive right to the message of Jesus and accuse Bible-believers of usurping His message for their narrow, joy-killing purposes.
When a person sets his mind to deny reality, after that, anything goes. Nothing is a stretch for them thereafter.
“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14).
God is under no illusion about us. He knows we are made of humble stuff. He knew He was getting no bargain when He saved us. When we sin, the only one surprised is us.
Whether we are under false conceptions, i.e., illusions, about God is another question.
One thing is sure. We sure do love our illusions, our pipe dreams, our false ideas and wrong impressions.
“No one should see how sausage or their laws are made,” goes the saying. The internet traces the quote to Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor of the late 1800s, who is supposed to have said it more like “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”
Leave us with our illusions.