It is 2:30 AM – early Friday morning. I am up and unable to sleep because our fifth grandchild, Greta Mae, is in process of arriving into the world. I can hardly wait to hold her and see her. Holding a new born baby always causes me to be in awe of our Creator God. Holding a brand new grandchild is even more awe inspiring because it involves the life of your own child extending forward into a new generation.
Grandchildren cause me to ponder important thoughts like what will they remember me for in the future when I am gone? In thinking about this, I look back to a very significant milestone in my life nearly ten years ago before I had any grandchildren. It was in the wee morning hours, like right now, and all was still and dark outside. I was sitting in our family room in Bend, Oregon with a newly purchased journal in my lap. A void had been growing in my heart and my hope was that journaling would help. I determined to begin prayer journaling that morning, a practice that I have continued faithfully to this day. It was difficult at first and I wrote only one short sentence that day- a sincere prayer however offered up with a hopeful heart. That statement became a major turning point in my life because to this day God has never stopped responding to: “Lord, I want to seek your face so please show me how.”
God desires that we know him and love him. Amazingly, we are to grow in the knowledge of an incomprehensible God- to know what we really can’t know. A. W. Tozer in The Knowledge of the Holy says that to know God is both the easiest and the most difficult task we have. “It requires hard mental toil yet it is freely given.” Paul stated in 1 Corinthians that “the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.”
I knew that morning that my comprehension of God needed to grow and I also knew that I could not accomplish it on my own.
Many people today foolishly take on the serious responsibility of deciding for themselves what God is like. They pick and choose attributes they like about Him and edit out features they find objectionable. I recently heard a young woman declare that she was choosing to be a “Christian Pagan” (Christian Paganism is a new movement) for no reason except she liked the sound of it and it allows her to freely consider God both man and woman. We have somehow given young people today the idea that they can select the God they want to serve and even make changes to him as needed to suits their lifestyles.
God does not however – and will never – conform to our image of him. He is immutable and has been and will forever be I AM. Philosophies come and go as humans try to fit god into a box suitable for themselves, yet embedded in our created image is a deep yearning to know God Almighty, Creator of the heavens and the earth, God our Savior. Only this one true God can meet our deepest desire and fill the void in our hearts.
Tozer said that “the God of Abraham whom our fathers knew has withdrawn His conscious presence from us, and another god is making himself at home among us. This god we have made and because we have made him we can understand him. Because we have created him he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us nor transcend us.”
Peter said this mouthful in 2 Peter 1: 3-4: His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through them you may be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Peter’s comprehension of God, as expressed in this verse alone was passionate and deep – deeper than I can wrap my mind around. I want to really and truly understand what it means to be a partaker of the divine nature but in order to be a partaker, I need to know what I am partaking of.
The men and women of the Bible knew. They were in complete awe of a God who was alive and personal and the absolute all powerful God who ruled their world. Whenever God appeared to them, the outcome was always one of fear and an overwhelming sense of their own unworthiness:
- Moses hid his face.
- Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.”
- No strength remained in Daniel when he saw God in a vision.
Their deep sense and awe of God caused them to fear Him. They knew that the “fear of the Lord was not only the beginning of wisdom but also a fountain of life to turn one away from the snares of death”. (Proverbs 14: 27) Few seem to embrace this “healing fear” today and sadly when God is not feared, His ways are ignored.
Like Peter and the people of the Bible, we must become passionate about knowing God. Passion is a choice. Knowing God is a choice . Both grow out of diligent effort. I pray that our current generation will be remembered for restoring the church to a lofty view of God, for stamping out prevailing philosophies such as Moralistic Theistic Deism,( check out last week’s blog for a definition) a very diminished view of God currently embraced by many in our culture.
Andrew Murray wrote that “the All of God is what we must seek. There should be no use of our time, no word on our lips, no motivation of our heart, no satisfying of the needs of our physical life that is not the expression of the will, the glory, and the power of God. God must not be merely something to us, nor even a lot, but all.”
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Note: I highly recommend A.W. Tozer’s classic book The Knowledge of the Holy. Later this week, I will post a handout outlining the attributes of God as described by Tozer in his book.