Meditating on the Word
“In His law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2
“Meditating on the Word,” edited by Wayne Burger, is a work of the Columbine church of Christ, 7453 S. Zephyr Ct., Littleton, Colorado, 80128. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org — Suggested topics are welcomed.
Vol. 15 No. 7 February 15, 2015
God As He Is or
As We Make Him?
Atheism denies that there is a God. That is bad, but worse are those who believe in God, but make Him as they wish Him to be. David F. Wells has a powerful summary of the postmodern view of God. He wrote:
“We have turned to a God that we can use rather than to a God we must obey; we have turned to a God who will fulfill our needs rather than to a God before whom we must surrender our rights to ourselves. He is a God for us, for our satisfaction – not because we have learned to think of him in this way through Christ but because we have learned to think of him this way through the marketplace. In the marketplace, every-thing is for us, for our pleasure, for our satisfaction, and we have come to assume that it must be so in the church as well. And so we transform the God of mercy into a God who is at our mercy. We imagine that He is benign, that he will acquiesce as we toy with his reality and to co-opt him in the promotion of our ventures and careers. Thus do we presume to restrain him in a Weberian ‘iron cage’ of this-worldly preoccupation. Thus we do tighten our grip upon him. And if the sunshine of his benign grace fails to warm us as we expect, if he fails to shower prosperity and success on us, we will find ourselves unable to believe in him anymore.” (God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams, p. 114 as quoted in Adrift – Postmodernism in the Church by Phil Sanders pp. 16-17).
May we never forget the great truth Isaiah declared, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor 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’” Isaiah 55:8-9.
God Is Truth
The greatest way in which postmodern man tries to make God as he wants Him to be, is by denying that there is absolute truth. But, if one believes in God, one must then believe in absolute truth. God is absolute truth and therefore manifests Himself in absolute truth. To deny one is to deny the other.
Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” John 10:30. Jesus then said, “I am….the truth” John 14:6. Therefore, God, the Father is truth. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead. The apostle John said of Him, “The Spirit is the truth” I John 5:6 (ASV has this statement in verse 7). Therefore,each person in the godhead is truth. “This being true, it follows that all that comes from God is true” (The Timeless Trinity for the Ceaseless Centures by Roy H. Lanier, Sr. p. 78).
“All truth among men, whether mathematical, logical, moral, or religious, is to be regarded as having its foundation in this imminent truth of the divine nature and as disclosing facts in the being of God” (Systematic Theology by A. H. Strong, p. 261 as quoted by Lanier, p. 78).
Jesus came to be the sin-sacrifice, the ransom for our sin (II Corinthians 5:20-21; I Timothy 2:6). When He returned to heaven to be our mediator (I Timothy 2;5), He sent the Holy Spirit, who is called “The Spirit of truth” John 16:13. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles and prophets into all truth (John 16:13). He did not fail to give all truth and when He finished His work, there has not been any more truth revealed. Jude declared that this truth, called “the faith” was “once for all handed down to the saints” Jude 3. Therefore, Paul declared, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” II Timothy 3:16-17.
God is consistent. The inspired prophet James said, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” James 1:17. Jesus Christ who is truth and the giver of the Holy Spirit of truth are consistent. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8. What God, the Father, Christ, the Son, or the Holy Spirit spoke and wrote in the first century, is just as true today. It was absolute then; it is absolute today. God is truth and His truth is absolute. Let’s not try to make God as we want Him to be, but let’s accept Him as He is – the God of truth (Psalm 31:5).
We are a world on a search, looking for happiness, fulfillment, and purpose. Nation by nation, people are filing into and ultimately out of this world. The majority never find that for which they look. It is a timeless quest, one that has spanned the ages without respect of person–those of every race, status, and skill have sought. The problem, most often, is they are looking in the wrong place for the wrong thing.
Near the end of the seventh century, Judah, who should have known better, had abandoned God in search of something better. This, of course, was a futile quest from the outset. As the result, they faced 70 years of Babylonian Captivity as reward for their looking elsewhere for what only God could supply. Jeremiah prophesied to them, and it was mostly an ominous, stern message. Yet, in Jeremiah 29, peering down the corridor of time past their punishment in a foreign land, Jeremiah reveals God’s great exhortation, telling Judah, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (13). Upon searching, they would find reward, restoration, reunion, and rest (14). Dark days would lie ahead in the captivity, but, given the proper condition of heart, Judah could find hope. In this profound statement of Jehovah, consider these exciting truths.
God sees potential in us. He looks beyond the capture, slaughter, and violence His people would endure for their sins and despite their false assurance. God cannot let sin go unpunished, but even when He views His sinful children He looks with optimistic eye. He saw the day when Judah would seek Him. While others see the worst in us and see our past, God sees the best in us and knows what we could be.
God can be found. Despite the mantra of modern muddiers of the mind, God is “findable.” Paul preached that “He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:27b-28a). Truth is knowable because the source of truth is knowable. It would reflect on the perfect character of God for Him to create us, then remove Himself from the affairs of life, to be shrouded in an impenetrable cloud of mystery. In the Bible, we have a roadmap that leads to the mind and heart of God! By it, we come to know Him (1 John 2:3).
God must be sought with all our heart. Judah was guilty of heartless religion, ritualistic worshippers drowning in worldliness during the week then pretentiously entering His presence on the Sabbath, as if He could not see them the rest of the time (cf. Jeremiah 7). God rejects hollow honor and surface service. He requires the heart! But, remember that He is found when we search with all our heart (cf. Deuteronomy 4:29). Isn’t this part of the greatest command, to “love Him with all our hearts” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mt. 22:37). He wants service (Deuteronomy 10:12), deeds (Deuteronomy 26:16), obedience (Deuteronomy 30:2), trust (Proverbs 3:5), and repentance (Joel 2:12) to be done with all our heart.
The great search continues. How tragic that so many are on such fruitless quests, looking everywhere but where they should! May we who know where He is to be found, search ourselves.
Neal Pollard, Daily Bread, 2-13-13
“To deliver you from the way of evil” (Prov.2:12).
In some circles, being “street smart” is the best kind of intelligence. Here one has learned the way of the city, where the dangerous people and places are. If you don’t know your way around, staying with one who is street smart may be your ticket to safety.
In Proverbs 2, a father is having a heart-to-heart talk with his son. The father is concerned about whether his son is aware of the most important kind of knowledge, and whether he has the work-ethic required to get that knowledge. He appeals to him to see the “treasure” of being God-smart. God-smart is better than any other kind of intelligence.
Paul talks about people who claim to know God, “but by their deeds deny him” (Titus 1:16). John talks about people who claim to know God, but it is obvious they don’t. How do we know? They “don’t keep His commandments” (1 John 2:4). Paul told the Christians at Thessalonica that on Judgment Day God is going to deal out retribution to those who “know not God” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). As Solomon told his son, he needs to “discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5). That sounds like good advice for us, too.
We spend our lives learning all kinds of stuff. We may know how to build a house or fix a car. We may know how to prepare a meal or sew a dress. We may know history, geography, philosophy or some other -sophy. We may even be street smart. But nothing (literally!) is better than being God-smart.
That kind of smart is better than street smart. Street smart may save your life today. God-smart will save your life for eternity. Denny Petrillo