My 4-year old has just recently begun to grasp the concept of the omnipresence of God (i.e. that God is everywhere). It randomly comes up in his conversations, “When we go to Grandma and Grandpa’s Jesus is there too.” You can tell that it is a mix of both statement and question. There is a clear awe and wonder in his trying to think about it; mixed with a bit of question because it does not fit with everything else we experience in creation. His awe and wonder is a great reminder to me of the awesomeness of our almighty God.
Thinking about the omnipresence of God reminded me of when the prophet Jonah tried to run from the almighty God, but he could not get away. He began to sink to the bottom of the sea, but God was there too:
The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God (Jonah 2:5-6).
God saved Jonah even against Jonah’s desires. Not only did God demonstrate his omnipresence through the events of Jonah’s life, he demonstrated his grace in the life of Jonah and in the thousands of lives in the city of Nineveh. If God had been omnipresent but not gracious, Jonah would have still perished. If God had only been gracious but not omnipresent, Jonah could have escaped and perished.
What a great God. And what a blessing it is to me to be taught of the greatness of God by a 4-year old.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).
One of my favorite modern hymns is In Christ Alone. The second verse concludes with the lines:
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
Recently, the liberal Presbyterian Church USA decided including the “wrath of God” was unacceptable and wanted to change the lyrics before including it in a new hymnal they are publishing. Thankfully, the song writers, Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, refused.
If there is no wrath, why did Jesus have to die? It would have just been unnecessary bloodshed. And, if that wrath has not satisfied by Jesus’ death on the cross, our situation is hopeless. The Bible makes it clear that we have been saved from God’s wrath:
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9).
It is unfortunate that these pseudo-Christian groups find the clear teachings of the Bible to be offensive and embarrassing. Praise God for the song’s authors who not only write wonderful, God-honoring, doctrinally sound songs, but also stand behind the convictions of their faith.
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
I first began writing posts regularly on Facebook nearly 2 years ago. Then earlier this year I started writing on this blog 4-5 times per week as it provides a better forum for longer posts. The act of regular writing gives a weird sense of the days rushing at you and then passing on by. Each post is fleeting; perhaps read by a handful of people and then forgotten. Sure, it can be conjured up again by the magic of a search engine, but why bother? These words have some sense of permanence, but they are basically vapor. I could go back and re-read old posts and probably find typos and better ways to word things, but again, why bother?
On the other hand, the works of God are not only permanent, they are also perfect. There is no reason for God to go back and make changes to his creative works. It is a reminder of the vast chasm that separates us creatures from our Creator. It is a reminder that God should be feared because he is awesome even beyond our wildest imaginations. He is the holy, infinite, perfect, transcendent God. I am none of those things and neither are you. Our works will not endure. Our works could be added to and taken from and most often be vastly improved. We are not God and for that I am thankful. Only he is worthy of our praise and our worship.
Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants (Psalm 119:89-91).
What an amazing comfort it is to know that God’s word is firmly and forever fixed. It is so much more comforting to rest on the sure and unchanging promises of God than to look for new and changing words. The false prophets come and go. Their words are unclear, contradictory, shifting sand. But God’s word is unmoved because it is based upon his unchanging character.
It is by his word that I can trust that his faithfulness will endure forever. Because all things were created and are sustained by his word, I can know that he has ordained all things and that all things serve his sovereign purpose. God and his word are the bedrock of my faith and my protection from the evil of this world.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:2-3).
Filed under God, Scripture
The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word (Lamentations 1:18).
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah penned these words after the destruction of Jerusalem. The “I” in verse 18 refers to the city of Jerusalem as a representative of the people of Israel. The description of their wicked sins is definitely PG-13 at times. Yet, it really boils down to this one verse—they rebelled against God’s word. It always boils down to rejecting God’s word which, in turn, is rejecting God himself.
A few months ago, Dan Phillips wrote an interesting article called The most offensive verse in the Bible. In the article, he wisely identified Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”) as the most offensive verse in the Bible. For when we reject God’s word we are rejecting his claim to be who he says he is—the Creator. We can either accept Genesis 1:1 and bow the knee. Or, we can take offense at God and rebel against him.
Jerusalem rebelled against God and their wickedness was exposed (and compounded) over time. God was patient, but his justice and righteousness eventually prevailed. As it always will, because “the Lord is in the right.”
Lamentations should be a warning to us. The sins of the Hebrew people in the 6th century BC could never be as great as the sins of the world we live in today. Not just because of our debauchery, but because we have rejected the Son. We have been provided a more clear witness to God’s salvation than they had, yet we rebel. We are without excuse. One day, we will suffer a fate similar to Jerusalem when the Lord treads upon us as in a winepress (Lamentations 1:15). We have been warned.
You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you (Psalm 16:2).
In this life it is easy to be overwhelmed by this broken world and all of the broken people, including myself. Yet, simple verses like this one are reminders that there is good, and all that good comes from our good God. And, even more comforting, is the promise that one day we who are in Christ Jesus will experience only good all the time.