Where do we go when we need to get in touch with God? Moses found God on Mount Sinai. David found God in the green pastures and by the still waters. The Jews gathered at the Temple. Where does a Christian go to find God?
We don’t find God in a place; we find God in our faith. In Isaiah 66:1-2, God speaks that heaven is His throne and that there is no physical place where He can rest. Through faith, we acknowledge that the visible world is only a part of God’s larger Kingdom. Faith is the means by which we present ourselves to our Heavenly Father.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NASB).
There is no particular mystery in this verse; the instruction is simple and pure. Coming to God, we choose to believe that He exists and that His love for us makes Him relevant to our everyday concerns. Faith is the means by which we draw closer to God.
Faith has always been the way to connect with God. Abraham walked very closely with God; he walked so closely, in fact, that he’s called God’s “friend” in James 2:23. Abraham made mistakes just like any of us. Nonetheless, what made him God’s friend was his faith.
“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13 NASB).
In his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes,
“For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16 NASB).
Seeing the promising vs. seeing the Promise
“What made Abraham so special to God?” Abraham consistently believed God in spite of anything he saw with his eyes. He left his home country to walk with God. He waited twenty-five years for an heir but was willing to give him up if God required it. It was his outrageous trust in God that made him God’s friend.
In Genesis 13, we read as Abraham is traveling with his nephew Lot. The two men are so blessed that the land can no longer support their herds dwelling together. Abraham speaks to Lot,
“Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:9 NASB).
Lot only considers what his eyes can see. He doesn’t acknowledge God. He merely turns toward what he considers to be the most attractive opportunity. This leads to his own harm as he is ultimately drawn to the wickedness of Sodom.
“Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.” (Genesis 13:10 NASB).
On the other hand, Abraham is entirely content to walk with God wherever that choice might take him. He consciously decides to trust in God. In other words, Lot chooses what looks promising; but Abraham chooses the Promise.
“The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.’ ” (Genesis 13:14-15 NASB).
Notice that both men “lift up their eyes.” When Lot lifts his eyes, his mind races with all the possibilities he sees. As God instructs him, Abraham lifts his eyes to see a future narrated completely by God.
Jesus is the present-tense Promise of God
All that Abraham anticipated, we receive in the present day, through Christ Jesus. In his lifetime, Abraham saw only part of God’s plan. He died, trusting that God would fulfill all He had promised. In Hebrews 11, we read of Abraham and others who died in faith,
“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB).
In the centuries that followed Abraham’s death, the Jews devoutly studied the promises God made to Abraham. The religious elite took great pride in calling themselves God’s chosen, the seed of Abraham. In John 8, we read one of Jesus’ longest recorded conversations with the Pharisees. At the close of their discourse, Jesus speaks,
“If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:54-56 NASB).
Jesus completely “blows their minds.” In words these men could understand, Jesus declares Himself to be the fulfillment of Abraham’s Promise. While their heads were still spinning, He closes with, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” (John 8:58 NASB). With these words, Jesus announces that He is the same God who appeared to Moses at the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai. The promise men like Moses and Abraham embraced from a distance is the same promise the Pharisees reject as Jesus stands in their midst.
What we believe draws us closer to God
“What does this mean to me on a daily basis?” We are continually confronted with the “real” nature of life. We face demands on our time, financial pressures, and concerns for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones. The faith that allows us to draw close to God enables us to see beyond these physical challenges. We continually learn to trust God’s bigger plan and greater supply.
It’s hard to trust a stranger, but it’s a natural thing to believe someone you love. God knows your life can be difficult. The days are long and the years are short. But your Creator cares for you. Remind yourself that this visible world is only a small part of an eternal Kingdom. Believe that He is and believe that He has good things for you as you seek Him.
Many scriptures come to mind as I close… Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:35-39. However, a song came to mind this week called “Be Ye Glad” that is a personal favorite. Here is part of the closing verse. You can listen to the entire song at the link below.
“You are timeless and part of a puzzle.
You are winsome and young as a lad;
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can tear you from God; Be ye glad.”
Words and music: Michael Kelly Blanchard © 1980 by Paragon Music Corp.
Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment
Glad Collector’s Series
℗ 1988 Benson Records
Released on: 1998-06-26
Associated Performer: Glad
Composer, Lyricist: Michael Kelly Blanchard