Monday, June 12, 2006

Making Himself Known

Ask Questions for God
at the Blue Pyramid.

The person who asks this type of question is basically saying: "God if You would just reveal Yourself to me then I would believe in You." There lack of belief in God is not their problem, but God's problem because He has not given them enough evidence to believe. They trick themselves into believing that it is an intellectual barrier that keeps them from living a life of faith rather than seeing it as the heart issue that it truly is.

God has revealed Himself to us. The problem is that while some us see God everywhere others see God nowhere. For whatever reason they have talked themselves out of considering the evidence that exists while erecting intellectual barriers to keep themselves from living lives of faith.

It really isn't an intellectual problem most people have with God, but it is a heart issue. Take into consideration these two examples. First there is the nation of Israel who has been in slavery in Egypt for a very long time. They have witnessed God's ten plagues on the Egyptian people, the parting of the Red Sea, the miraculous provision of Guidance and food through the wilderness, and finally God revealing Himself to the entire nation at Mount Sinai. Moses goes up the mountain, but is gone for a long time (forty days and forty nights) and the people get antsy. They get some gold together and make a golden calf to worship, claiming this is the god who led them out of Egypt (Exodus 19 -32).

Second are Jesus' disciples. These men had heard Jesus teach, seen His miracles, and have seen Him off and on for forty days after He rose from the dead. As Jesus gets ready to ascend into heaven He takes these followers to a mountain in Galilee. Matthew 28:17 reads; When they saw him, they worshiped him--but some of them still doubted! (NLT) Amazing these people still doubted that Jesus was who He said He was. We tend to think if we were in their place and were able to see the risen Lord face to face that we would not doubt, but I don't think that would be the case.

Both groups had evidence that God existed and that God had chosen them. The Israelites, for whatever reason, decided to ignore what they knew to be true, exaggerated their fears and doubts, and turned to worship and idol. The disciples doubted, they didn't know what to think, but for whatever reason they decided to trust Jesus and God used them to change the world. It is ultimately a heart issue because we have to decide whether or not we are going to trust God based on the evidence He has given to us.

The Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20 wrote: For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities, —his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God (NLT). God has revealed Himself to us and He claims that this revelation is sufficient to lead everyone to seek Him. I think it should be pointed out that one of the best pieces of evidences for the existence of God are Christian people. That means it is very important that understand the message we are sending to others by the way we live our lives.

I want you to understand too that I believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ not because of all the evidence that Christians take from books like Evidence that Demands a Verdict or The Case for Christ (remember since people's unbelief is the result of a heart condition and not an intellectual problem those pieces of evidence are of little use in trying to convince someone to believe). I believe because of the experience of God in my life. The change in my heart and mind, through no work on my own to change, the change I have seen come over other people's lives as they follow Jesus, and little everyday things where I can see God at work.

Having said all of that I still haven't answered the question. It is a valid question because we talk about God loving everyone and not wanting anyone to perish and so it would seem logical that God would make His presence obvious to everyone. In one of His parables Jesus dealt with this very issue:

27 "Then the rich man said, `Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father's home.28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don't end up in this place of torment.'
29 "But Abraham said, `Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.'
30 "The rich man replied, `No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.'
31 "But Abraham said, `If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luke 16:27-31; NLT)
God doesn't reveal Himself to us in what we would consider obvious ways because it would do no good. The very same people who have the evidence of nature, the Bible, and the Church for the existence of God and refuse to believe in Him would not believe even if they saw the risen Lord face to face. It is not about insufficient evidence, but it is about a refusal to trust God based on what we know to be true. It is not an intellectual problem, but it is a heart problem.

1 comment:

Peter Shaw said...

What a terrific post! You have captured the state of the disbelieving (or should I say unwilling to believe)masses very well. They want to believe on their terms...not God's. Romans 1 is a perfect illustration of the logic of God vs. the obstinence of man. Great post.

God Bless you.

Peter Shaw

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