Thursday, October 24, 2013
How Do You Know God?
In my reading this morning, I came across a familiar passage from Matthew 25:24 when Jesus told the parable of the talents. Whenever I read those words in the past, I had a funny feeling that I could be the man who had one talent but buried it in the ground.
"Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed."
That is how I used to know God. How do you know Him?
The lord in the parable answered that his servant was "wicked" and "lazy" in verse 26 of Matthew 25. In the Outline of Biblical Usage, wicked is the Greek word ponēros (G#4190) and has these meanings:
I. labours, annoyances, hardships
pressed and harassed by labours
bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble
bad, of a bad nature or condition
in a physical sense: diseased or blind
in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad
The word for lazy is oknēros (G#3635) and it means in the Outline of Biblical Usage:
I. sluggish, slothful, backward
For me personally, I see how in the past I was both wicked and lazy. (Let's call a spade a spade.) I did not know God as a loving Heavenly Father because I did not invest the time in finding out just what God's character was. The result was I ended up fearful, thinking God was always ready to "drop the hammer" on me.
How could I be fearful when it says this in Romans 8: 28-39?
"And we know all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God, and if we are fitting into His plans. For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him-and all along He knew who would-should become like His Son, so that His Son would be the first, with many brothers. And having chosen us, He called us to come to Him; and when we came, He declared us "not guilty," filled us with Christ's goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory. What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God be on our side, who can ever be against us? Since He did not even spare His own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won't He also surely give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? Will God? No! He is the One Who has forgiven us and given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? NO! For He is the One Who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven. Who then can ever keep away Christ's love for us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because He doesn't love us anymore? And if we are hungry, or penniless, or in danger, or threatened with death, has God deserted us? No, for the Scriptures tell us that for His sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day-we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; But despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ Who loves us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't and life can't. The angels won't, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, Or where we are-high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean-nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
from Living Letters, Kenneth N. Taylor
Tell me of another god who loves like this God? A god would actually bear that cross up Golgotha's hill willingly and not open His mouth against His accusers? I have never heard of any. Christianity is the only faith that is God reaching down to man, not man trying to reach up to God through works.
Each day I am gaining confidence in the love He has for me, and that He is involved in every detail of my life. That is why Jesus beckoned us in Matthew 11: 28-30 to come to Him. In Kenneth Wuest's expanded translation it says this:
"Come here to Me, all who are growing weary to the point of exhaustion, and who have been loaded with burdens and are bending beneath their weight, and I alone will cause you to cease from your labor and take away your burdens and thus refresh you with rest. Take at once My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find cessation from labor and refreshment for your souls, for My yoke is mild and pleasant, and My load is light in weight."*
Though I never knew the Lord to be that way, I one day decided it was high time for me to learn, and take on that gentle yoke. He never promises my life to be free from trials, but He does promise that He will give me rest through them. Each day, my pastor says, is given a "24 hour grace packet" by our loving Father.
I don't want to hide my talent in the ground. So I come to Him and learn of Him, of His graciousness, kindness and faithfulness. He promises He will never leave or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) If this is the kind of God that you want to know, I encourage you to come to Him today. As long as you are breathing, He will never turn you away. (John 6:37)