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Coming to Know God

02 Mar

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In the early days of the automobile a man’s Model-T Ford stalled in the middle of the road.  He couldn’t get it started no matter how hard he cranked nor how much he tried to advance the spark or adjust things under the hood.  Just then a chauffeured limousine pulled up behind him, and a wiry, energetic man stepped out from the back seat and offered his assistance.  After tinkering for a few moments the stranger said, “Now try it!”  Immediately the engine leaped to life.  The well-dressed individual then identified himself as Henry Ford.  “I designed and built these cars,” he said, “so I know what to do when something goes wrong.”

God, as our creator, knows how to “fix” us when our lives are broken by sin.

god-make-me-an-instrumentGod is not discoverable or demonstrable by purely scientific means, unfortunately for the scientific minded.  But that really proves nothing.  It simply means that the wrong instruments are being used for the job.

A Sunday School teacher saw one of her little boys drawing furiously with a set of crayons. “What are you doing, Johnny?” she asked. “I’m drawing a picture of God,” said Johnny. “But Johnny,” said the teacher, “nobody knows what God looks like.” Replied Johnny: “Well, they will by the time I’m through with THIS!”

In looking for a challenge or some direction in life, the most challenging task we can approach is the zeal to come to know God. Think how that process might begin with some questions/answers:

Name: God.
Also known as: The Almighty, Jehovah, the Father, Lord.
Occupation: Sustainer and ruler of the universe.
Address: Everywhere.
Sex: Does not apply.
Place of birth: Does not apply.
Social Security: None.
Mother’s maiden name: None.
Dependents: Everyone.
Honors received: Too numerous to list.

God doesn’t fit a mold, does he? He is, to put it mildly, unique. One of a kind. Indescribable, some would say! God is beyond cataloging, and no computer resume, no investigating committee, not even a CIA computer could give an exhaustive profile of who He is and all that He’s done.

God cannot be grasped by the mind. If he could be grasped, he would not be God. Yet we cannot give up! We can’t throw up our hands and dismiss Him as a mystery…we need Him!

Imagine a sheer, steep crag with a projecting edge at the top. Now imagine what a person would probably feel if he put his foot on the edge of this precipice and, looking down into the chasm below, saw no solid footing nor anything to hold on to.

This is what I think the soul experiences when it goes beyond its footing in material things, in its quest for that which has no dimension and which exists from all eternity. For here there is nothing it can take hold of, neither place nor time, neither measure nor anything else; our minds cannot approach it.

And thus the soul, slipping at every point from what cannot be grasped, becomes dizzy and perplexed and returns once again to what is connatural to it, content now to know merely this about God, that it is completely different from the nature of the things that the soul knows. [1]

It’s amazing in this world the way people respond to God, as they understand Him…it’s very different: some grovel before totems; others bring offerings of chickens and goats; others kneel five times daily to chant prayers; others go into trances. Some believe in God so intensely they preach in foreign lands; others deny His existence by their silence.

We need to come to see God in people around us. We need to know Him in a personal way.

I’m thinking of a little boy named Timmy. Timmy was very afraid of the lightning and the thunder. His mom and dad went into his room during a thunderstorm and said, “Now, Timmy, don’t be afraid. God is right here in the room with you.”

He said, “Okay, Mommy and Daddy, I won’t be afraid.”

But then as the mommy and daddy went into their room and started to get ready for bed, the lightning clapped, and the thunder rolled, and Timmy screamed bloody murder. Timmy’s daddy and mommy went back into the room and said, “Honey, we thought we told you, you don’t need to be afraid. God is right here in the room with you.”

Timmy said, “Mommy and Daddy, I know God is right here in the room with me, but I need someone with skin on.” [2]

What is God like? Answers don’t come easy, because of the immensity of the subject. God is huge, filling the universe. Also people might know the right words, but they seem to become hollow shells because they can’t comprehend them.

We say that God is holy, righteous, loving, gracious, Father-Son-Spirit, but we don’t know what all this means. How do we know the words are empty? We can tell by the way many Christians behave!

Our behavior exposes our failure to understand the words coming out of our mouths. We can talk about God, but we do not know Him! God is not like us — He’s one of a kind! God is different from men. Anyone trying to know God and learn to relate to Him must begin with this fundamental truth.

God is not optional! Unlike everything else, God is absolutely necessary, like water for fish. We can’t just “take God or leave Him” — He is inescapable, even more so than death and taxes. We must not be too “familiar” with God, or regard Him as optional…we must learn to let God be God.

A. W. Tozer wrote concerning the desperate need for the church to revise its concept of God due to a very distorted conception of Him: It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the twentieth century is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity.[3]

Tozer goes on to say, The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him—and of her.[4]

A. W. Pink is of the same opinion: The god of this century no more resembles the Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday school, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences, is a figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside the pale of Christendom form gods of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their carnal minds.[5]

One day it occurred to me that God is the most fascinating person alive and that getting to know Him could well be the most helpful thing that ever happened to me. The more I probed His nature the more convinced I became that knowing Him is the solution to most of my problems. I became convinced that knowing God better was the answer to many of their problems as well. I decided that I want to get to know God intimately, and that I want to help others get to know Him as well, if I possibly can.

God is knowable, and He does want to be known. As a matter of fact, He tells us that our eternal state depends upon knowing Him. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Knowing God and His Son Jesus is the heart of the whole matter of eternal life. The word know in this verse does not refer to a casual acquaintance either. It is the kind of knowledge that comes through living contact and personal relationship. If knowing God is that important, maybe we ought to talk about how we can get to know Him.

A mother was approached by her young son, who asked, “Mommy, did God make Himself?”  Realizing that such questions by children are very important and must be answered, she dropped what she was doing and sat down with her youngster for a little talk.  Pointing to her wedding band, she said, “This is a ‘love ring,’ which your daddy gave me when we were married.  Look at it closely and tell me where it begins and where it ends.”

The youngster examined it carefully and then said, “There’s no starting place and stopping place to a ring.”  The mother replied, “That’s the way it is with God.  He had no beginning and has no end, yet He encircles our lives with His presence. He is too wonderful, too great, for our minds to understand. Nobody ever made God — He always was!”  Somehow the boy realized that for God to be God, He could not have been created. He had to be without beginning and without end.

Martin Luther once was so depressed over a prolonged period that one day his wife came downstairs wearing all black.  Martin Luther said, “Who died?”  She said, “God has.”  He said, “God hasn’t died.” And she said, “Well, live like it and act like it.”

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[1] Gregory of Nyssa (d. about 395), “Eastern Orthodoxy,” Christian History, no. 54.

[2] Thomas Tewell, “The Tenacity of a Bulldog,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 141.

[3] A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: Harper and Row, Publish­ers, 1961), p. 10.

[4] Ibid., p. 12.

[5] Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in the Godhead, pp. 28-29.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 2, 2015 in God

 

One response to “Coming to Know God

  1. Ken Retzer

    March 2, 2015 at 3:24 am

    A very enjoyable store of illustrative examples of your major points ! Reading not only provides valuable information from you but stimulates thoughts and responses also. Knowing God is so important might give a priority hint to preachers and teachers unless that is a task that those who could profit from it should be left to acquire such knowledge on their own. Second thought stimulated: If Romans 1 tells us we can know enough about God by observing his creation to respond with gratitude, think about how much love God can stimulate in us toward him and his other human creation to learn God is love and that we love as a response to his first loving us. Knowing God produces knowledge and touches our hearts both !

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