What is God to you? Is God someone who is real or not? Does God seem at a distance? How is your relationship with God?
Ponder the questions for a moment. Is there anything you would like to improve or change? If so, why are you not doing something about it? Do you even know how to change you relationship with God?
I do not want be offensive, I am just asking a question. If you have a need or desire to make a change, what is keeping you from it? Perhaps there is not enough of an incentive. In any case, I know that all of us can grow in our relationship with God.
The purpose of this series of articles is to help all of us grow in our relationship with God.
In the beginning:
Before the fall of Adam in the garden, there was a very close relationship between YHVH (the LORD) and man. When the forbidden fruit was eaten however, that relationship was broken. It was Adam and Eve who broke the relationship because they chose a path where they could "be like gods", deciding for themselves good and evil. As a result, God moved man out of the garden, away from His presence. Man now had to fend for himself. However, since that time, God has been willing to restore the relationship. YHVH desires a personal relationship with you; with all of mankind. Letís look a little at Godís nature.
"For You, LORD, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods."(Ps 97:9 NKJV, unless otherwise noted)
"Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." (Ps 90:2)
"But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation."(Jer 10:10)
"Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?"(Ex 15:11)
"No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God."(1Sa 2:2)
"For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name."(Lu 1:49)
"Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?"(Isa 66:1)
I have provided several verses from the Bible, Godís Word, showing His holiness and greatness. From these, we can see that man is nothing compared to God. Read Isaiah 66:1 again. What can we do for God?
Now letís look at a few more verses.
"For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite."(Isa 57:15 NAS)
"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit."(Ps 34:18)
"Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar."(Ps 138:6)
These verses show that YHVH wants to dwell with the contrite and lowly person. It is implied that God does not dwell with those who are not lowly or contrite, but there is more to this. What does God mean when He says;"ÖI dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spiritÖ" (Isa 57:15)?
This is referring to Godís Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Yeshua (Jesus) promised this to us.
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever"(Joh 14:16)
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."(Joh 14:26)
So you see God, who is holy and uses the Earth as His foot stool coming down to live in us. What a marvelous thought! As David put it in Psalm 8,"What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?"
Yet how many of us are using this relationship to grow in Grace and the Knowledge of Yeshua our master? We do have a role in the relationship between ourselves and God; we need to make a choice.
"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."(2Pe 3:18)
Why does Isaiah 57:15 say that He dwells with the contrite and lowly of spirit? Why not with those who are proud?
We must understand God is holy. He dwells in a high and lofty place. God expelled man from the garden because man had sinned. YHVH does not dwell with those whose hearts are filled with bitterness, envy, strife and the like. The point is, we are the ones who must change in order to draw close to God. Yes, God wants to be close to us, but we need to change.
There is a popular Christian song titled "Show Me Your Ways". It begins as follows:
"Show me your ways; that I may walk with you."
Clearly, we are the ones who need to change in order to walk with God.
"Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths."(Ps 25:4)
"ÖHe will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His pathsÖ" (Isa 2:3)
It is Godís ways that we must follow. This is very important to understand. We do not get to choose the terms of our relationship with God. Later in the series we will talk at length about the choices that YHVH does give us. Simply said, we cannot meet God on our terms. Note that God is merciful and patient. If we are ignorant (meaning we do not understand) God sees our heart and overlooks our shortcomings. However He expects us to change; that is why we are disciplined.
"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent."(Re 3:19 NIVUS)
We need to fear God!
"Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name."(Mal 3:16)
"Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him."(Ps 34:9)
"Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD."(Ps 34:11)
"For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;"(Ps 103:11)
"You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield."(Ps 115:11)
I hope you see the need to fear YHVH. But should we be shaking and trembling with fear, afraid to make a move for fear of retribution or punishment? No. Read Ps 103:11 and 115:11 again. YHVH shows mercy; He helps and shields those who fear Him.
The proper fear of the LORD is difficult to explain. But perhaps the paragraphs below will help.
It may be difficult to find one word to use instead of fear to adequately convey an accurate understanding of what it means to fear God. I will try to illustrate what this concept is all about. Healthy societies have authority structures in place to protect the well being of their people. Good governments pass laws for the benefit of their citizens. These governments appoint officials to enforce these laws. Breaking laws has consequences. These consequences are designed as deterrents to keep people from disregarding those laws.
When we stay within the boundaries of the laws of our society, we need not be concerned about the consequences of breaking them. In other words, we need not fear the authorities when we abide by the law. It is only those who consciously break the law that have something to fear. Yet it is the law breakers who are the ones who don't really fear the authorities. It's the law keepers who actually fear the authorities.
To fear governing authorities doesn't mean that we live our lives being afraid of them. Far from it. Our fear keeps us from being afraid because we take their power over our lives seriously. Note too, how law abiding citizens react when they think they may have broken a law. That's when they get afraid.
And so it is with God. To fear him does not mean to be scared of him, unless we live in such a way that will bring His displeasure upon us. To fear the Lord means living in right relationship to him. When we fear him we consider who he really is and all he requires of us.
Strange as it may sound, when we truly fear God, not only do we need not be afraid of him, we discover we need not be afraid of anything else either.
If you understand the above paragraphs, you may now understand the following verse:
"And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin."(Ex 20:20)
You see this is how we must learn to fear God and at the same time not fear!
But, even understanding all this you still have a choice to make.
End Part 1 [click to go to Part 2 God is Pro Choice]
HOME : Index of Articles : FEEDBACK