A new year has come again. 2014 marks the 107th year for our church. If the Lord tarries, we will continue on into this new year worshipping the Lord and serving Him. But we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. We have lost parents and friends this past year.
As we turn our attention to this new year, we need to refocus our understanding of who God is. Why is there evil and death? Where is God when we need Him most? Time and again the Israelites of the Old Testament struggled to find out the answer to this question. But they often accepted a lesser god, a lesser being, a lesser deity than the One True God. They wanted a god who was like them, fallible, easily manipulated, and powerful enough to bring the rains in season. They wanted a God who would respond to sacrifices when called upon, a god who said “no rules!” when it came to sexual purity and marital fidelity. But in the end, Baal is not God. Molech is not God. Ashtoreth is not God, nor a goddess. All of these images of their imagined gods fell before the True God, like Dagon before the Ark of the Covenant. These false gods failed to protect Israel from invasion. And failed to produce fire when begged for, Baal on Mt. Carmel.
We tend to invent our god after our own desires and needs. We want a God who will heal our diseases, heal our marriages and families, and look away when we want to have some fun. We want a God who has the power to heal us, but the good sense to look away when we sin. We call him by various names like “The Man Upstairs” or “The Great Physician”, the Author of “the Good Book” that describe not so much Him, but what we think about Him. We believe that we will be able to slip by “St. Peter” at the “pearly gates” with a claim to heaven because we were “good” as opposed to “bad” and so spend eternity playing harps on fluffy clouds before the “Old Man”. Is this truly the God of the “good book”?
How can we know what God is really like? Can we know Him? What can we find out about Him, if He is not what we conceive? Does God want us to know Him? If so, how could He inform us to His Being?
When we look all around us, we see God’s handiwork. Is there any God capable of this? Dare we gaze upon the presence of God? All of the false gods fall before the True God. God Himself says: “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isa 46:8-10)
My prayer for you is that you will be glad that we do not worship any lesser God than the God of the Universe.