Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where to start?

I suppose the first question to ask is "Where do I begin the discussion of God's character?"  I guess I could start with "In the beginning, God" and talk about His eternal and infinite being, however I want to start with the first time His character was called into question.  Genesis 3 and Psalm 119 have impacted me greatly over the past few months.  Psalm 119 because of how His law, decrees, statutes, precepts, commands and word sustain, teach, and give comfort; Genesis 3 because of the eye-opening revelation of why I would have a difficult time trusting Him.  Add to this Romans 12 and I see a way out of the flesh driven view of Him and a way to "pull the straw out of the water" and see Him as He really is (with the obvious caveat that I will never completely overcome my flesh until I go home to be with Him).  My questions to my mom in college about "why" and many of the questions I hear from people have to do with "why"; why would God allow [fill in the blank]?  Believe it or not, He's given us the answer to that question.  We've even codified His answer when we asked ourselves, "What is the chief end of man?"  You'll recall the answer is "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

If then my chief end is to glorify God, what do you think God's chief end is?  You got it - to bring glory to Himself.  I don't know about you but I immediately bristle at the thought of one person seeking out their glory over another person.  I attribute "too much" humanity to Him and assume that the pursuit of His glory, especially when I see it at my expense, is a selfish, ego-maniacal pursuit.  Shouldn't He be in pursuit of me?  Shouldn't He look to my benefit and my blessing?  Shouldn't He display His greatness in making sure that I enjoy comforts, blessings and abundance at His right hand?

Look at the progression of my questions above.  I've somehow moved from my chief end, bringing glory to Him, and put myself in the center.  Having done that I've already violated the first commandment He gave on Sinai, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." Ex 20:2-4.  If He pursues me as a chief end He violates His own law we which know He cannot do.

I like the way Rick Warren put it, "it's not about you."  Go back to Job.  Read the first 10 verses of so of chapter 1 and tell me this, did Satan ask God if he could go after Job or did God bring up Job to Satan?  God offered up Job!!  Thus commences the account of untold suffering, personal loss, and physical affliction which takes 42 chapters to tell.  Job sits there wondering what he has done to be worthy of suffering.  He even gets the opportunity to ask God, "What in the world are You thinking?  How could You do this to me when I've done nothing to deserve it?"  Do you remember how God answers Job?  I can tell you He did it much more graciously than I ever would.  My response would sound something like, "Shut your pie-hole.  I made you and don't answer to you."

The answer to why is this: God did it, whatever the "it" is in your life, because it brought Him more glory than doing it any other way.  Said differently, if the entirety of human history could unfold in a manner other than the way it has, and bring Him more glory, He would have done it that way.  Your why, my why, everyone's why's are answered by His pursuit of His glory.  (John Piper does a great job describing this, and so does Mitch Jolly!)

The Accuser has me constantly saying to myself, "Can I really trust Him?  The pain and suffering that I go through, the heartache I see all around me, the death and misery; aren't all of these proof that I can't trust Him?"  I'm brought back, again, to the fact that I want to judge him by the si.......

You know what I just realized?  I've been sitting here repeating over and over again why I have a tough time trusting Him and not going after what I set out to do, namely discuss His character.  Bottom line, He is trust worthy.  I don't expect you to just take that on unsubstantiated faith, but rather on the evidence of His word.  How many examples will it take for you to say, "You know what, He is trustworthy!"?  Seriously, if I ask you to find 10 examples in scripture would you do it?  Please share them as we build a body of evidence, evidence taken from the only truth available to us, His word.  If we can't trust Him, then what in the world are we doing taking the time to learn about Him?


  1. Something that I am finding to be true is that I can sit down and list every time that the Lord has blessed us beyond what we need in times where we were in need and times when we were "ok"...yet every time i am fearful and questioning what the Lord is doing both history and the present time are real and it requires a great deal of work to cling to truth and not to circumstances...

  2. He is revealing Himself to you and through you to others. What a blessing!