“GETTING TO KNOW GOD” By Pastor YAU
Text: Isaiah 55:5-9 October 24, 2010.
1) Do you know your spouse? Writer David Branon once wrote: My wife and I don’t always understand each other completely. For instance, it is a great mystery to her how I can watch an entire baseball game between two teams that have no chance of making the playoffs. I surely don’t understand how she could spend a whole afternoon in the mall just browsing store windows without spend a dime. To love someone dearly doesn’t mean you will always understand him/her completely. With the differences between two human beings, we just can’t.
2) Do you know your God? Many of us Christians who love God have that similar feeling: we deeply love God but often times, we don’t understand God completely. We don’t understand why some awful things could happen to faithful and dedicated men and women of God. We don’t understand how could God see all the injustice in the world and hasn’t done anything about them. And we can’t understand why God doesn’t stop the killing of countless innocent people by suicide bombers and terrorists. In the same way, with the finite wisdom and life experience of us being human, we just can’t completely understand God.
WHY IT’S SO HARD TO KNOW GOD?
1) God isn’t from our world: In the discourse with the Samaritan woman on where people should worship God, Jesus pointed out that “God is Spirit, his worshippers must worship Him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) This is the first and the foremost of all the differences between God and human. The nature of God is not the same as that of man. We are from a totally different origin of being from that of God. Unless we receive the spirit of God through faith, we have zero idea of who God is and how He operates. Even after we receive the Holy Spirit from God through faith, we still can’t know God completely.
2) God has different system: In a more simplistic way, God has a different operation system than that of human’s system just as PC and Apple have different operation system. Although we are created by God and have the spirit of God in us, we mostly can only understand things through our capacity in our terms. Any thing beyond that is beyond our realm of operation
3) God is much higher: In explaining why God allowed the Israelis to be in captivity, God said this: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declared the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)Often times we see and treat God as one of us, but He is not. He is God. He is much higher in thoughts and ways we can never understand. If your God is very much like you, I don’t think I need or want that God. Do I?
4) God sees much farther: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) Human beings can only see a short distance in time and space, but God can see infinitely much farther, a thousand years as one day. Most of the things we don’t understand about God are because we can’t see the purpose and outcome God puts in them. Our best eyesight is 20/20, God’s eyesight may be 2M/2M. If you can see what God sees, we won’t be surprise or disagree what He does or did.
WHY DO WE WANT TO KNOW GOD?
1) We have His spirit in us: Darwinism promotes their theories in the origin of man based only on our physical being, like all other species, but man is more than that. Man is the only creation God breathed His spirit in him. God had a very special interest in man and He called the day when man was created “very good” while all other days are just “good.” That spirit of God in man makes man different from the rest of all created beings. It is that spirit in him, man has the inherent desire to know God. We are empty on the inside without God.
2) We need forgiveness of sin: Sin has been a burden to man since the beginning of history. Sin has destroyed life, family, relationship and everything else related. Men try to deal with sin by religion and philosophy throughout history but none is sufficient, much less effective. Sin is not just the acts but also the heart. Sin is more than against men but also against God. (Luke 15:18, 21)We need God to deal with the problems of our sin. God knows our need to solve the sin problem and sent His Son Jesus to die for us Without God, men will never be forgiven from the burden of sin.
3) We need God to go through life: When King David said, “Your word is the lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” he admitted that without God and His word, he couldn’t find his way to go through life. Years later, his son King Solomon asked God the same thing: “So give your servant a discerning heart (wisdom) to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9) Except the fools say they can go through life without God, all reasonable people need God, his wisdom, guidance and protection to go through life.
4) We need salvation and eternal life: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Salvation of the soul and eternal life with God in heaven is the ultimate goal of life for all of us and only God in Jesus Christ can offer us. While there are many religions and religious moral teachings, there is none about the forgiveness of sin, the salvation of the soul and eternal life with God in all of religions except in Christian faith. God of all creation is the only one who can offer and accomplish both salvation and eternal life for men.
HOW CAN WE
1) First, tune your heart to God: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will free pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7) Isaiah didn’t mean that God is hiding from his people. He was talking to the Israelis that they needed to seek God and gain forgiveness of their sin. When the Spirit of God moves our heart to seek God, to get to know Him, to gain mercy from Him, we need to heed the call of the Spirit and seek God. Paul advised the early Christians “do not put out the fire of the Spirit.” (1 Thess. 5:19)
2) Then, dig in His words: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.” (John 5:39) The best way to know God is through diligent study of the Bible. Jesus said the Bible testifies about him. Because the Bible is the word of God through which God reveals himself to us and gives us his guidance. If you are serious in getting to know God, to know his plans for your life, his guidance of your decision and his wisdom to choose your path, dig deep into the Bible. Read it everyday on your own and participate in worship services and Bible study classes to know more about God.
3) And pour out your heart: “In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said: Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work for which I have called them.” (Acts 13:1-2) This is a vivid example how Christians get to know God and His will by serious prayer and fasting. Getting to know God by reading His word is to allow God to speak to us. Getting to know God through prayer is to show God our earnest desire to listen to Him. When we pour out our hearts to God in prayers, we are spiritually wide open for God to fill our hearts of His will and direction. Reading the Bible and prayers are a two-way street for us to get to know God.
4) Finally ready to follow: “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20) We need to have a responsive heart, like those of Simon and Andrew, to respond to God’s call to truly know Him. If we are not ready to follow His word, instructions, we won’t know him. Why bother to want to know God if we have no intention to listen and follow Him? Knowing without doing means nothing.
1) Ask yourself: How much do you know God? How much do you care to know God? How much do you really want to know God and to follow His guidance for your life? Your desire of God determines your level of knowing Him. God is always there, waiting to see you, talk to you and give you guidance. Are you ready to see Him and know His word?
2) And if you don’t: If you don’t care about knowing God or don’t want to listen or following Him, God has nothing to lose. It is for your own good that you seek to know him. God loves you and He wants you to have a meaningful and productive life. So ask God to enter your heart, be the guide of your life, take over control to direct you to a higher ground.