Archive for the ‘Meditations on God’ Category

Meditations on God 10

April 20, 2016

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. (Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

In thinking through the glory of God as set out by Scripture and Emmons, we can only touch the hem of His garment. It is God who is in utter control and His plans will most certainly come to pass regardless of how many men oppose Him. When men oppose Him the most, despite the appearances of it all, they are still being used by Him to carry out His perfect plan and purposes. The Scriptures tell us that God works all things after the counsel of His will, so we must come to grips with this and admire and worship. This is not to say that God works evil into the hearts of men and forces them to do it, but it does tell us that sin is not greater than God and He is so glorious and sovereign that He uses those things for His glory as well.

How can it be that God’s providence directed toward one person can “sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more”? We can find many, many instances of that in Scripture. We can think of how God would move on one king and that had a great influence on many in terms of war and of famine. We can think of how God would move one woman who would seek the Lord and He would give her a son that He would raise up to have a great influence on many. We can think of lowly people and so-called great people that God would use to have great affects on many people. It almost seems as if Scripture is set out that way.

Think of the great effects Adam had on the whole human race by being the head of the human race and then falling into sin. We know what effects Noah had on the whole human race through his drunkenness and then his three children, one of whom he pronounced a curse upon. On the other hand, what a profound effect Noah had on the human race by building the Ark and then through him the whole human race came. We think of Jonah and how God brought him through the mouth of a large fish and used his preaching to turn hundreds of thousands of people to repentance.

Joseph was used by God to feed virtually the entire earth (known at the time) by sovereignly putting him in a position and then giving him wisdom. In doing that God used him to make Egypt a great power and save the lives of thousands upon thousands of people, but also to bring the Israelites to Egypt and so they needed Moses to bring them out. In that we have a picture of the Gospel. One solitary human soul can be used of God to have a great influence on thousands and millions of people and He does not do it because the men are great, but because He is great.

We should think of the apostle Paul and how God used him to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the known world. How many churches were the results of his labors? No one knows for sure, but they were all over the known world. Did all of those people hear of Christ because Paul was so great? No, people heard of Christ because God was great and He worked in Paul that they would hear and come to Christ. Not one person came to hear Paul preach but what God brought to hear Paul. Not one person understood what Paul was preaching about other than those that God gave them understanding. Not one person threw rocks at Paul other than those that God had ordained would do so. Not one wave crashed against the ships Paul rode in but those that God had ordained to do so. We must read the Scriptures with reverence and awe as we seek to see the hand of God in all things. After all, His hand is really there and it is working. We are either being blinded or we are being given light.

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Meditations on God 9

April 20, 2016

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. (Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

In beholding the glory of God in His singular plan and purpose for all things being for His own glory, we see His perfection in all things. Not one thing is broken and nothing can move slower or faster or in any direction other than He intends. Even when people appear to be totally out of control, they are doing all that they do in accordance with His perfect wisdom, will, and eternal plan. Ever subatomic particle and the greatest solar system alike obey His every command and follow His perfect plan. Every earthquake, every tornado, and every “natural” event are in accordance with His plan and purpose. The planetary system cannot be understood as any one planet operating alone, but instead it must be seen as a system of all operating together. Our ecosystem does not operate one animal and one planet at a time, but it operates by the whole operating together. There is a reason (or reasons) that rabbits breed much faster than wolves.

As we think of human beings, we tend to think of famous people or perhaps politicians as having a lot of power. In one sense they do, but they are in the position they are in because God put them there to accomplish His purposes. Yes, even evil politicians carry out the greater good of the glory of God without wanting to do so and without knowing what they are doing. Yes, the famous people who were known for great acts of evil do all that they do in accordance with God’s great and holy plan. God has a plan for the whole of humanity, yet for each part as well, but each human must learn to think of him or herself as a small part of a bigger whole. This helps us to understand the Great Commandments as well. We only love others when we love God and we cannot love other human beings apart from loving God. It is never true love to join or assist people in their rebellion and sin against God because sin is against God and sin against God is a crime against all of humanity as well. As an older writer put it, there is no such thing as a little sin because there is no such thing as a little God to sin against. It is also true, however, that there is no such thing as a little sin because sin is against the good of the whole of humanity.

How can a finite mind understand that “very dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more”? It may be that the previous statement by Emmons is one of the most profound statements uttered by any human being. While we may not comprehend such grandeur and majesty, we can try to apprehend little bits of it. When we think of Adam (the first man) we think of an individual, but when Adam sinned every human being to follow him (other than Jesus the Christ) fell in him. Here we can see how God’s providence toward one man affected billions and billions of people. We can see how God’s providence toward Pharaoh and Hitler affected millions of people in their own lifetimes and yet who knows how many in the generations to follow?

God is sovereign and He carries out His plans through His perfect providence, wisdom, and power. Nothing can alter or change in the slightest way His carrying out His perfect plan. However, this is not a horrid form of fatalism as such, but instead it should give His children great hope that in all of His acts toward them He is working the greatest good for His glory and His people as a whole. The Church that Christ is Head of certainly appears weak and almost as if it has virtually disappeared in our day. But we can know that it is all according to His plan who works all things in accordance with His purpose and according to the counsel of His will. All of those daily annoyances and great trials are not there by accident and are not there solely because someone hates me or His Church, but are there because He planned it and brought it to pass for His glory and the good of His Church. We don’t have to observe these things; we can know they are as true as the character of God is true. His promises are certain because He is certain and nothing can alter His carrying out His promises. He can literally move heaven and earth to carry out His promises. Once again, we should bow in utter humility and worship.

Meditations on God 8

April 19, 2016

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. (Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

As we try to deal with what it means for God’s purpose and how He works all things after the counsel of His own will, even on the surface it is an incredible statement that will cause the heart to revolt with enmity or bow in worship. It is not just that in some objective way that God’s purpose stands supreme as He works all things after the counsel of His will, but that each true believer (in this text) has been predestined in accordance with His purpose. The purpose of saving the individual, then, is not just for the individual’s sake, but it is to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph 1:6) which tells us something of His purpose. Sinners are saved for the sake of the glory of God and all things that happen to them are also for the sake of His glory. When the children of God grow in learning to love His glory more than their circumstances, they can know that God is working in them love for Himself and His glory in accordance with His own purposes.

As the children of God behold the universe and see all (all that they can) that He is doing every moment of every day, they can behold the breathtaking glory of God as He sovereignly works all for His pleasure. The child of God can know that despite his or her circumstances, God is working for their greatest good and their greatest good is His glory and pleasure. This shows us that God is not working for our ease and convenience as such, but He is working in accordance with His good pleasure which is His own glory. As the Father works in His children through all the things of daily life so that Christ can be seen in them and through them, we can behold the very glory of God’s love for the Son. God’s love for the Son and His glory in and through the Son is so great that He is willing to bring hard things on His fallen children so that His glory would be seen in and through them. When the child of God loves God, it is really God’s love for the Son in them and the Son loving the Father through them that is being expressed and manifested. This shows us in a grand demonstration that God loves Himself and His children. All things are working together to put God on display.

There is no need for God to adopt a timetable for our convenience, but instead He operates according to Himself and His own eternal plan. While it appears that everything around us is broken, and in one sense all is broken because of the fall, yet all things are still operating according to His Divine plan. The child of God must have his or her eyes torn from self and the things of the world that they may see the high calling to which they have been called. They are not here for worldly pleasures and they are not here to be consumed by the world. They are here to be instruments of His glory as their greatest purpose in life and to which all other purposes are to be aimed at. We do not live in a universe or a planet without purpose and we do not live without purpose. Neither do we have to determine a purpose for anything. Instead, we are to live and die for Him for whom we were created for.
He has created all things for Himself, and for who pleasure alone all things are, and were, created. He does His pleasure in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth. The scepter of whose authority He sways over all things, all worlds, and all events, with irresistible power, and unerring wisdom and righteousness. His absolute providence and decrees embrace the very hairs of our heads, unalterably fixes the number of them, and makes it perfectly impossible that one of them can fall from our head without an order from His throne. Life, death and hell, and worlds unknown, Hang on His firm decree… (Gilbert Beebe)

Meditations on God 7

April 18, 2016

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. (Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

The picture that Emmons paints as he expounds at least one aspect of Ephesians 1:11 is that God sees all things at once and He sees all things constantly. This is a strong teaching on the omniscience of God. From all eternity God has known and seen all things in the eternal present, which is to say that all things are present with Him and His knowledge is certain. This great and glorious God does not depend on anyone to inform Him of anything past or present, but He knows all and all depends on Him completely. It is not just that He knows particular events from some outside way, but instead He governs every particle and knows their every connection and how its part fits in with the whole. As a clock has many springs and wheels and all work together, so God knows how all things fit together and how all things function. He knows this because He has created all things and in Him all things hold together. Not one event that happens to us or around us has any part of it that is not in His complete control and is part of His plan.

When we see one event happen, whether large or small, if we will take the time and effort (rather, pray that God would give us grace to have insight and the strength to take the time and effort) to meditate on those events, we can behold the hand of God in all things. We tend to think of the providence of God as being focused on us, but instead God is focused on Himself and His own glory. We tend to think of things as good or bad as to whether they make us feel good or bad or whether they are good or bad for our finances. But we must learn to see God in all things and know all things work together for good because He is sovereign over all things and the greatest good is for us to bow in humble submission to His sovereign wisdom.

As we meditate upon the fact that nothing in God’s chain of events can ever be broken regardless of how we feel about it or view it. God is supreme and independent and nothing can go apart from His perfect will in all things. Nothing ever happens apart from the perfect plan of God and so we can neither hurry up the plan of God nor can we slow it down. God’s timing is always perfect in accordance to His divine sovereignty whether it appears slower than we want or perhaps arrives quicker than is comfortable to us. But again, while our hearts may rebel or grumble with the circumstances of life, those circumstances have been ordered from all eternity past and nothing has changed with God and as such each circumstance is perfectly timed for the best. Oh how our hearts chafe when God does not deliver us when we want, yet that is to trust in our own wisdom rather than His. Again, we should seek the Lord to humble our hearts that we may trust Him in all our ways and steps rather than ourselves.

As we think through the issue of the extent and depths of the sovereignty of God, it is quite clear that not many in our day believe in the sovereignty of God to the extent that Emmons did. However, if you meditate upon that you will see that not many in our day believe in the sovereignty of God at all. They think of Him as more of a divine genie who will do what they want and when they want if they can work up enough faith. That is to make God out to be stronger than we are but who is at our service to do as we please. The entire universe was created by God and for God, or in the words of Colossians it was created through Christ and for Christ. The entire universe operates precisely and exactly as God created it and all events come to pass simply because it was His mere pleasure for it to come to pass. This is of great comfort to those who love God. We don’t rest in the winds of luck or fortune, we are in the hands of One who has an infinite love for Jesus Christ and all who are in Christ are love more than they can possibly imagine. Let us bow in worship rather than grumble.

Meditations on God 6

April 17, 2016

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

While the world focuses on the abilities of self and the religious world worries about the responsibility of man and how we must not take too much away from man and ascribe it to God, the Bible does not worry about that. Neither did Nathanael Emmons in the quote above. What he would have us to see is that God is sovereign over all things at all times and in all ways. We must know that we are not alone and we are not free to operate apart from the great and sovereign plan of God. We must know that we are not free to act in a way that will upset the plan of God and will disrupt anything He has planned to do. While we are free from forces that make us choose, we are not free from the sovereign hand of God at any point and at any time.

It is wiser to think of God’s sovereign hand as in control and as the ultimate reason and purpose behind all things. This is why the Scriptures tell us that He works all things after the counsel of His own will. When the Scriptures tell us that God works all things after the counsel of His will, we can be sure that He is absolutely sovereign over all things. Whether it is subatomic particles or gigantic galaxies and universes, God is sovereign over each and every thing. Absolutely and utterly nothing is beyond His omnipotence and sovereign wisdom. Instead of men thinking that they can come up with wise plans to help God’s kingdom advance, these men should bow in humble submission and cry out how He would have these things to happen. Instead of seeking greatness, men should seek lowliness and brokenness before God who alone can enable them to submit to His sovereign plan.

As Jesus taught us in John 15, we can do nothing apart from Him. This great God that “governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole” can alone work in us wisdom and grace that we may indeed do things that are intended to be good and are good. It is God alone who can work all things for His own glory and our good because He has planned all things and orders all things in that way. Everything conforms to each other and His plan in the ultimate sense because that is how perfect wisdom orders all things when He intends all things for the highest good which is His own glory. Each and ever thing (act, word, intent, motive) are all part of His divine plan and each works together as He has designed it and planned it. We may think or feel that He is picking on us by bringing hard things into our lives, but we have no idea the good He has planned for those hard things. He can use those to work great maturity in our lives, but those hard things can also be used in His hands to bring great glory to Himself in ways we are clueless about.

What an encouragement for the believer that we must take hold of. God is indeed sovereign over all the smallest things as well as the greatest things. Everything that happens to me is from His sovereign hand and intended for His glory which is the greatest good that there is and which should be my greatest love. There is nothing that can possibly happen to the believer that is outside of the hand of the sovereign and living God who has an eternal plan for the smallest things. Every event that comes to the believer is brought directly to the believer through the hand of eternal and infinite love, and that is true with the hardest things as well as the good. While God may bring things that are far beyond what my flesh can bear, His grace can give me the strength to bear what His wisdom has planned for His own glory. Every thing that He brings to pass fits with His great scheme and that I am part of that great scheme and that all that is happening to me has a far greater purpose than I can imagine. Oh how this great truth should humble us into the dust and move us to seek the face of the Lord to give us grace to be content in His hands.

Meditations on God 5

April 6, 2016

Isaiah 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? 19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

In the passage above we see the greatness of God and the nothingness of man (in comparison to God). The Scriptures speak of creation as revealing the greatness of God as opposed to a mindless and godless evolutionary process. When God is removed from anything, those things will not be seen in the appropriate light. When the truth of the nature of God is removed from the churches, they will also not be seen for what they are either. The purpose of the churches will be diminished and they will become a flurry of human activity focused on humanistic things while still using the name of God.

The God of creation and the God of all things is utterly glorious in who He is and what He does. While man may think of politics and of evangelism as the center of all human life in terms of how things are done in the nations and in the churches, God is the One who is in actual control. It is God who plants the politicians and it is God who removes them at His good pleasure. The picture from Isaiah 40 is that all of human activity is under the sovereign hand of God and it is with great ease that He does what He does. The heavens are compared to a curtain that God spreads out at His pleasure and that He does so with great ease. Behold the true and living God!

In the churches there is great activity at many places trying and fighting to obtain converts for various reasons. While this is not entirely a terrible activity, the way it is done, however, is as if God did not exist. It is done in a way where the activity of evangelism depends on man’s initiative and efforts. Salvation is talked about in some sort of objective and unclear way without the true Gospel even being declared. The Gospel is no longer the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Christ, but instead it is the Gospel of human choice and power. However, the Gospel has to do with the glories and wonders of the true God of all creation and the true God of all Scripture. He is the One who is to be preached. He is the One who is to be declared. He is the One who is sinned against. He is the One who alone can take away the sins of man by the sacrifice of Christ. He alone is the One who can regenerate dead men. He alone is the One who can unite men to Christ. How dare men denigrate the Gospel by making it so dependent upon the frail arm of humanity? How dare men denigrate the Gospel of God by such humanistic preaching and messages? Evangelism can be idolatry as well as anything and when it is a false god or even presumed rather than the true God, evangelism is idolatry.

The glory of the Gospel of God is God Himself. He is the One that we should be talking about. The power of the Gospel is not in the arms and power of man, it is in the Spirit of the living God. When we lift up our eyes to the stars, we are to know that not one of them is missing and the reason for that is because of God Himself. The stars exist and are held into being “because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power.” So is each human soul and each human ruler, but also each preacher and each speaking of the true Gospel. When the false gospel is preached or presented or taught, a false god is being held forth as well. As evolution is false because it does not depend on the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, so evangelism and church activity is false when it does not depend on the greatness of His might and the strength of His power. In reality, men have erected an idol of church and evangelism that are covered with the false gold of humanism and it is in the power of men to keep their idols from falling. In beholding the light of the true God idols appear and should be repugnant.

Meditations on God 4

April 5, 2016

Isaiah 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? 19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

In reality all things are about God. All things were created by Him and they were created for Him. As all things were created by Him, all things reflect something of God if only He would reveal them to us. In one sense nothing is like God, and yet in another all things reflect something of God. Most likely the word “like” is used in an equivocal way when we speak this way. There is nothing like God in the sense that He is beyond being compared to anything or anyone. In another sense, human beings are made in His image and are to be like Him, which is to say that they are to pursue a moral likeness.

The human heart if full of self, pride, and clearly, therefore, full of idolatry. The fallen human heart wants to use all things for self rather than for God, and that includes self. The fallen human hearts is centered upon itself in self-love and wants to be at the center of all things. The fallen human heart will change and twist reality in order to allow it to be at the center of all things, so the human heart will twist and distort the truth of God. When it has worked and worked to distort enough, it will erect idols in its own image and after its own likeness. The fallen heart finds out craftsmen and builds an idol made out of gold according to what it wants the idol to be. It is impossible for any idol to reflect the truth of God and so idolatry is strictly forbidden.

While it may be rare in the United States and Europe in our day to find people building idols in the same way, though indeed Roman Catholicism has idols and many other religions do too, but it is not the common thing to do in so-called evangelical circles. However, idols of the heart in wrong theology and coveting are rampant. In sermon after sermon and book after book God is likened to man and He is twisted and distorted to become like man or like man wants. Men want a God that they can control and they want a God that they can manipulate through what they think is faith or what they call prayer. It appears that the vast majority of evangelicalism of today is head over heels in idolatry as they have wrong gods and think that the true and sovereign God will do what they want.

If men would simply look into the heaven they would behold the true God on display, though of course He is more clearly on display in Scripture. If it is true that “All the nations are as nothing before Him” and “they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless,” then the so-called god of the modern pulpit is nothing but an idol. The God who can change is an idol. The God who is anything less than absolutely sovereign is an idol. The God who can be moved by anything other than Himself is an idol. The God who is pleased with men apart from Christ is an idol. We must behold the living God and we must see our utter helplessness before Him. We must behold the living God and see our utter weakness and nothingness before Him. We cannot serve this God, but instead the only thing we can do (spiritually or good) is what we receive from Him. We cannot seek Him with hearts that don’t love Him and we cannot seek Him with hidden idols in our hearts. We cannot fool Him and manipulate Him to do anything at all. We cannot even avoid sin apart from His mercy. We are at His mercy in all things. He is utterly and totally sovereign, we are utterly dependent upon Him.

Meditations on God 3

March 26, 2016

Isaiah 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? 19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

The world thinks of itself with high thoughts and a sense of grandeur. How wonderful it is, or so it is thought, to be world champion or to set a world record. How wonderful the world thinks it is to be best in the world or one of the richest in the world. However, this passage of Scripture shreds and obliterates all of that. This passage gives the mind of God on the value of the world in and of itself and how glorious He is in contrast with that. If all the nations together are as nothing before Him, then what is a world record by an individual or a team of individuals? If all the nations are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless, then what value can all those awards and distinctions have that people seek?

The world is all the things such as attitudes and intents and actions that are focused on self and pride rather than on the glory of God. The world can be very religious, yet it can be opposed to the true and living God. The living God is utterly and absolutely glorious in all that He is and when compared to the entire universe and the entire world, all of those things together are nothing in and of themselves. God created the world (physical things) as a place to manifest His glory and that is the only true use of the world (as in physical things). When people seek worldly things, they are seeking things and not the Creator who created all for His glory.

The living God is simply beyond compare in all ways and at all times. He sits in the heavens serene and untouchable. He sits in the heavens completely self-sufficient within Himself and needs nothing or no one. If one could offer this world and all it has to God, it would be as nothing. After all, He could create as many worlds as He wanted and/or needed. He is the One who upholds this world as He pleases and receives nothing from the physical world or the world as a fleshly and focused on the senses.

There are things in this world (political positions and money and…) that appear to give people power, but the whole world and all it is and has is only in appearance. The whole world is less than nothing and meaningless to Him. How great and glorious this God is. When the world has such a flash and desirable appearance, and yet it will all pass away, how desirable is God who will never pass away? How desirable should God be to our souls when the whole world is nothing and meaningless before Him? What a wicked thing it is to seek the world and not seek God. What a wicked thing it is to use His creation for self and not for His glory. What a wicked thing it is to be enamored with the world and not with its Creator.

The world makes physical idols, but those are utterly ridiculous as there is nothing like God who is spiritual that we can make something of His likeness in a stone or piece of wood. Yet the churches and the world continue to make idols of things and even religion. God cannot be pictured in any way and yet we still try to do so with the idols of our minds and hearts. Wrong theology is really a wrong picturing of God and is idolatry. We must seek the Lord to grant us a true sight of Him and the world. Only God is worthy of worship and adoration. Only God is worthy of love and high esteem.

Meditations on God 2

March 22, 2016

Isaiah 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? 19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

The human soul was made for God as all things have been made for God. All things were made for God and for the purpose of manifesting His glory and that primarily to Himself. God can have no greater Being than Himself as a motive to create things for. God can have no greater love than Himself or He would be an idolater. The passage above shows the thorough God-centeredness of all things as opposed to moderns who seem to think that man is the center of all things and that even God is centered upon man. That type of thinking is really fallen thinking which is to say that it is the type of thinking that a person who thinks of self as a god and wants God to be focused on him or her. God is worthy, not man. God must create for His own glory or He would be serving inferior purposes and not His own glory and that would make Him unholy.

Once again we must think deeply through the passage above. What are all the nations in His presence? They are less than nothing and meaningless. These truths of God point to the greatness of God and the absolute reality of the nothingness and meaninglessness of man in the ultimate sense. It is nothing but the pride of man and the deceptions that come through that proud self that makes men think of self as the focus and center of all things. Oh how wicked man is to take the absolute reality of God as the center of all things and pretend that man is the measure of all things and even of God.

To whom will men liken the true God? They liken God to themselves. As was said many years ago, “God created man in His own image and man has returned the favor. That is true. Fallen and sinful man is full of self and pride and tries to twist the truth of God and make God like man. Arrogant man tries to think of himself as the standard of morality and in doing so he will read parts of the Bible or look at all the suffering on the planet and think that God does not exist since no one could be all-powerful and all-good. Indeed that is terrible reasoning, but it is the reasoning of proud hearts.

The Lord Jesus Christ does indeed save sinners, but only to the glory of God. The Lord Jesus Christ does indeed save sinners to the glory of God, but part of the way He does that is to humble sinners in the dust so that they see that they are less than nothing and meaningless. Christ, the Great Prophet, teaches His people about who they are so that they will love His free-grace and nothing or their own worth and works. Man must behold the living God in His greatness and His centrality for all things or man will move himself to the center. Oh behold His glory and His beauty and majesty and know that man can receive nothing good but by the free-grace of God. There is no Gospel apart from the free-grace of God and as such it is nothing but a so-called gospel that has any works.

When all the nations are nothing before Him and less than nothing and meaningless, what could move God to save sinners? It could only be His own glory and it can only be the glory of His free-grace that saves sinners. Oh how men should seek the Lord to humble their proud hearts and the self-centeredness of their fallen hearts. Oh how men should seek the Lord to teach them in their inward man the glory and beauty of free-grace. As long as men search for and strive for some worth or works that they can earn or do, they will now bow with broken hearts and behold the glory of free-grace that is given them solely and only in the name of Christ.

Meditations on God 1

March 20, 2016

Isaiah 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? 19 As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

God has been virtually forgotten in the American version of Christianity. We have programs and we have self-helps and we have entertainment, but where is God? For some reason He is the One that is out of sight though we think we are serving Him by doing good and by being religious. Why do people think that they are doing God a favor by doing good and by being religious? Why do they think that they are going to enter heaven based on those things? Why do preachers think that they will enter heaven based on the fact that they preached when in fact they preached in order to get money or for the honor of men?

The versions of Christianity that I hear are something quite different than Holy Scripture. The things I hear about God in the modern day are quite different from what I read about God in the Scriptures. Isaiah is speaking to religious people and it is almost with amazement that he asks them if they did not know and if they have not heard about the true God. The God that Isaiah sets forth in the passage above is not what we hear about in the modern day.

Where is the living God today? Where is He in terms of what He is supposed to be doing? If we go by what we hear, then He is up in heaven and is anxiously hoping that some people will think of Him or do Him the favor of telling others about Him or perhaps He is just hoping that those who have chosen Him will be good little boys and girls. Hogwash, to put it as nicely as I can, the true God is the absolute sovereign of the universe. The true God is so great that He cannot be served. The true God has no need at all from anyone or anything, but instead He exists in and of Himself with absolutely no need at all. Whatever He needs of desires He is sufficient within Himself.

It is not good for the self-esteem to read the passage above about how we are like grasshoppers, but that is more of an understatement than an overstating of the case. God is so great that we are even said to be nothing. All the nations are nothing before Him and He regards them as nothing and meaningless. This is not the God that is spoken of from the modern pulpit. Where can one go to hear the infinite glories of God declared and set forth? Where can we go to hear of how our holiness and morality are not of benefit to God, but that these things are blessings that God grants us in Christ and works in us by His grace.

Oh how can this be communicated to sinners who think that God is pleased with them because they do good? How is it to be communicated to sinners that we are of no benefit to God and that any action that is good that comes from us had to come from Him first? Where can we hear that salvation is by the choice of God and not the choice of man? Where can we hear that our prayers do not move God unless we have sought the Lord and He has worked in our hearts what we are to seek from Him?

The living God cannot be served by human hands. The living God does not need people to do things for Him. The living God cannot have anything done for Him. We are at His mercy and we are in His sovereign hands. He does not need out acts of goodness, but we need Him if we are to an act of goodness. He does not need our religion (nor want it), but instead it is only by His grace that we have any love for Him which is an absolute need if we are to have any true worship. God reigns, man does not and is utterly dependent upon the sovereign and true God.