God Reveals Himself – Psalm 18:25-27

God Reveals Himself Experientially

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

Opportune Observation

Everywhere in the Bible, we see God revealing Himself.  He does so through His word.  He reveals His amazing character through His interaction with His creation. We have the wonderful opportunity to observe through reading God’s word exactly how He interacts with us in the universe that He created.  We have been provided the perfect place to keenly observe, without filter or pretense, what has gone on before.  This gives us a better perspective of what we should expect from our God, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Experiential Encounter

But He goes much deeper than that.  As we start on the path of reconciliation with God through repentance and sanctification, we begin to desire to experience God on a more personal level.  The only way to do that is to walk with someone.

When you walk with someone, you have the opportunity to share in the life-experiences of that person.  You are there when things happen, and are immediately impacted by the results of the circumstances that you both encounter.  God does not merely want us to read about what He did yesterday (or a long time ago, in our cases); He wants to us personally be involved with Him in what He is doing today and what He is planning to do tomorrow.

Jesus called us to follow Him.  The Greek word for follow is akoloutheo.  It means to walk alongside someone, shoulder to shoulder, if you will, almost as if you were in lock-step with them.

Relational Relevance

When we being to experience God’s character by walking with Him, He reveals Himself in a greater and deeper way to us.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

In the case of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reveals that to those who exhibit the Godly character of Mercy, He will reveal Himself by being Merciful to them.  The benefits of experiencing God’s character is that God makes it real to us as we exhibit it.  It becomes experiential knowledge rather than just head-knowledge.

If a person always has food to eat, hunger truly isn’t real for them.  They may understand hunger at a simple level, maybe if they miss a meal, or fast for a short period of time.  But to truly understand hunger, a person must be in the position of not even having the option of eating for a very long time.  Whether that is self-imposed or imposed by circumstances, the reality of not even having the opportunity to eat reveals the nature of hunger as it affects those so afflicted.

Participatory Providence

While we are forgiven our sins at the time we confess Jesus as Savior, we are afforded a more intimate knowledge of the character of Almighty God.  To truly appreciate something, you generally have to pay for it yourself.  Then you begin to understand the sacrifice, effort, and cost of something.  Time, effort, and money are expended in the process that precludes the purchase of other things.  Everything comes at a price and, unless you have unlimited time, money, and skill, there are only so many choices that can be made.  Likewise, when we participate in the character of God, we give up the right to exercise other options that are available to us at the price of following the path of righteousness.

For instance, forgiveness comes at a three-fold cost.  First, there is the initial harm that we experience when we are wronged.  Second, there is loss as we give up all claim at justly recovering (if that is even possible) what was originally ours.  Finally, we suffer harm in knowing that justice for the offense will not occur (in the case of those whose sin has been forgiven.  In the case of those who refused to believe God in life, they will suffer the most grievous and just penalty for that in the Lake of Fire, and there justice is fully meted out).

Disciplinary Danger

We are warned by the Psalmist that we need to be careful in how we conduct ourselves with regards to character.  God reveals His character as a Just Judge when we exhibit ungodliness in our own character:

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

Even in the case of ungodly character, God reveals Himself to us as well, even if it is in a less pleasant manner and method.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I daily receiving a more experiential knowledge of God’s character?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have revealed Yourself to me in Your word.  Help me to put into practice all that I have read and learned, so that I may better experience Your character and understand the depth and breadth of the love that You have for me.  As I experience this, help me to better love my neighbor as myself, and love one another as You have loved me.  Help me to love You as You desire to be loved, and I pray that my character, daily, would more closely align with Yours until they are indistinguishable from each other.  I ask, Father, that You help me to yield myself to the Holy Spirit so that He can work more effortless through me and in me, that Your character would be on display for the world to see.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Love of God – 1 John 3:1-3

God Is Love And Lavishes It Upon Us

1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Love Lavished

Have you seen the love lavished upon us by God Almighty?  Every breath we take is a gift from Him.  Every material possession that we have is given to us by Him.  The ability and opportunity to work with our hands to provide something for the poor is a blessing from Him.  And now, through the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, we have been given an even greater gift – to be called the children of God.

Called Children

It is no fun to be an orphan, or to live in a family where there is abuse, lies, deception, and derision.  But that is exactly what we had when we were children of our old father, the devil.  He lies to us, berates us, demeans us, and tries very hard to convince us that we are worthless.  He does everything in his power to keep us from properly bearing the image of God.

But God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has not given us the greatest gift – adoption into His family.  God’s love for us was so powerful, that He sacrificed is One and only perfect Son, Jesus Christ, that we could become His sons and daughters.  It is said that identity is the strongest form of persuasion.  God has attempted to persuade us into coning back to Him through identity as His sons and daughters.  But not everyone will heed the  call.

Some will Spurn

The world does not know Him, nor even want to know Him.  Blinded by the efforts of our enemy, hindered by the inherited nature passed on by Adam, and enticed by our own evil desires, the world around us revels in sin even as they hate it.  Unable to break free of its grip, and unable to be relieved of the pain and suffering it produces, the world continues to spiral out of control and give in to the very nature that they hate.

The world, under control of the enemy, hates to have their deeds exposed to the light.  Darkness encompasses them, and they desire to stay there, fearful and loathing themselves.  It is only the power and blessing of God and His word that can change the attitude of spurning into yearning.

Unrestricted Unveiling

And given the opportunity to know the one and only true God, He has chosen to unveil his true nature when His One and Only Son returns in glory.  At that time, we will see Him as He truly is, for we will be transformed and will be like Him.  We will finally see Him fully and know Him fully, just as He fully knows us now.  At that time, nothing will be withheld.  The full beauty, power, majesty, glory, and nature of the Son of God will be revealed to His children, as well as those who are not His children.  Those who have spurned Him will cry and mourn, and seek to flee the perfect light that will shine and penetrate all of creation.

Preparation in Purity

And for those of us who have hope in Him, we are to purify ourselves, just as He is pure.  God has given us the gift of the residence of the Holy Spirit within us to guide us, guard us, teach us, reveal His word to us, and prepare us in purity as the day of the Lord approaches.  The time is drawing near, and the signs of His coming are at hand.  Take the time to know what to look for, and look up, for your salvation draweth nigh.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I prepared for the imminent return of my Savior?

A short prayer for preparation:

Father in Heaven, You never cease to draw me close to You.  Help me to embrace You in the times of difficulty as well as the times of ease.  Strengthen me for what is to come, and help me to purify myself that I may be found prepared when Your Son, Jesus Christ, returns.  Show me in Your word the sign of His coming, and give my heart the sense of urgency that it needs to yield to You in all things.  Thank You, Father, for the love that You shower down and lavish upon me in everything that You do and say.  Help me to remember Your love when emotional pain from my hardships tries to overwhelm me.  Guard my heart against bitterness and anger, and fill me with Your love.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?