It’s strange the things that cross my mind in the early hours of the morning, just before I get up. Sometimes it’s like there’s a message there and I have to dig a little to find it. Sometimes there’s a question at the forefront of my mind and I’m looking for the answer. Sometimes it’s like Jesus visited me during the night and left me something to think about. This morning as I woke up, I had been thinking about hope and faith.
I’m not really keen about having a hope and having faith in someone I cannot see and a reality that exists that is unseen. If I was given an option on how things would work I don’t think that would be my first choice. There’s something within me that wants to see, wants to touch, wants to hear, wants it to be of such a sufficient magnitude that there is no way that I can ignore it or have it not be the very essence of what I do and what I think about and experience with all of my senses. If it was my decision, that is the way that I would probably pick for things to work with knowing and experiencing God.
Obviously God could have orchestrated it that way but He didn’t.
If anyone has ever taken the time to read through the Bible, even when there were visual representations of God’s existence, they are always followed by a show of faith, a follow up if you will, to do something that showed you believed and trusted in what God had said, done, or was going to do. Figuratively speaking, you’d literally have to be blind not to see that. Even with the visual manifestations, faith always followed, always.
And then you have the disciples of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, they did get to see Him, touch Him, hear Him. They heard Him teach, they saw the miracles He performed. They saw Him die and they saw Him rise again. And they saw Him ascend into heaven. And then He was gone. Faith followed. Always does.
And just in case our observation capabilities aren’t as sharp as they should be, God in His wisdom ensured we had the book of Hebrews. You know what’s coming don’t you? Yep, good old Chapter 11. That’s not just a single comment, it’s an abridged summary of people who had faith in and trusted God throughout the Old Testament.
I’m flogging a dead horse here, aren’t I? This is what God chose. But why?
Because God is Holy and we, in our broken state, are not. Because that which is unholy cannot see God as He is, face to face as it where, and live. That which is unholy (us) cannot be in the presence of a Holy God (Him). (Exodus 33:20 NIV) We’re talking about God the Father here, not the Angel of the Lord.
In John 4:24 KJV Jesus tells us that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
In Hebrews 11:6 NIV we are told that “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The evidence for the existence of God is everywhere and we can see that evidence. Paul tells us in Romans 1:18-20 NIV
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Notice what this verse says, “….since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has make it plain to them.” That’s what the unholy can know about God, everyone can see the works of His hands, what He has created.
The thing is, God wants us to acknowledge Him for who He is and seek Him. He wants us to understand that in our fallen state or in our “human condition” if you will, we are not like He is, we are unholy and He is holy. He also wants us to know that our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts.(Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV) And, most importantly, that He created a plan of redemption, before the foundation of the world was laid, to bring us back to Himself, so that we too, could be holy, like He is.
And that plan of redemption is made available to use through His Son, Jesus the Christ. (John 3:16 NIV)
So my personal preference may not be through the learning path of faith or hope, but I do understand why. And I can see the necessity of it being that way, because of all that I need to learn about God, His ways and thoughts and of course our redemption, His Son, Jesus and the way in which I am made holy, in Him.
It’s really so beautiful when you stop to think about it. And the Apostle Peter sums it up for us as follows:
1 Peter 1:18-21 NIV
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
So your faith and hope are in God. That’s the way it’s supposed to be and in spite of my shortsighted preferences, I can accept and be thankful for His wisdom, grace and His love.
When I consider what God our Father asked Jesus to do to redeem us, when I consider how totally unworthy I was and am, that expression of God’s love and the extent to which Jesus was willing to go, lets me know that my faith and hope in Him will be realised, just as sure as Jesus rose from the dead.
John 14:19 NIV “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!