Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get a Little Closer...

As I was reading this morning in my One Year Bible, I came across a sentence that stuck out at me. Ezekiel 35:4 says, “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Throughout this whole chapter the Lord is telling the land of Israel that He is going to bring destruction upon their enemies and destroy those who follow after other Gods. But then, in 35:9 He says to His people, “See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you.” I love that about God, how He loves me and cares for me, but I don’t always “see” it and I don’t always trust either.
God is asking us today to “know Him” to know that without a doubt He is God and He is in control- all the time. But, how then, do I “know that He is the Lord?” To know in this context means to perceive, to see, to know by experience. How many of us came to know the Lord through an event in our lives? We can see and know God through every aspect of our day. There is nothing under the sun that is not in His hands. Even the sun and the moon and the stars are all under His control. Then why then do we doubt? Why then do we waver and not trust? First of all, because we are humans and living in this evil flesh- we are stuck with that I am sorry to say.
But there is something here that I am pretty sure the Lord wants us to see and to apply to our hearts. He wants us to “know” Him, to come to a point that we are as intimate in our relationship with Him as we are with our own husbands. You know just about everything there is to know about your husband, your kids, your mom and dad- God wants you to know Him like that as well.  James tells us to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That is a promise God wants us to grab hold of today and anchor down with.
Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”  The question that came to my mind as I read Romans was, “Do I see God in every detail of my life?” We all know (at least we should know as Christians) that nothing happens by chance or coincidence. Everything that happens, every word that is spoken- God uses that to bring to pass His will and His purpose. God is not surprised by the things that I do or say. I used to think that He was. I used to do something stupid and think that my God was sitting up in heaven, hand over His eyes and saying, “Child, why in the world did you do that?” But God already knew that I was going to screw up, and He already made a plan out of it. (I hope this makes sense to you all!)
When you hear someone say to you, “Why did God allow this to happen?” your response to them should be, “to cause men to draw near to Him, to cause men to know that He is the Lord.” That is why bad things happen to good people. That is why God “allows” catastrophe to come upon this world of ours. He is sitting in His heavenly throne, making everything work towards one goal- so that all creation would “know that He is God”. Ephesians 2:7 tells us “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” You see, God desires for all men to draw near to Him, to come to the understanding and knowledge of who He is in each individual life.
There is a desire for intimacy with us that God has. It is in His heart towards every man, woman and child. If you are walking upon this earth, God desires to have a personal, intimate, loving and grace-filled relationship with you. Relationships are a two way street. To know someone you have to spend time with them, you have to talk to them, and be around them. That is what He is asking of us today- to look at all the things, events, happenings in our lives right now and say, “What am I learning about God through this?” For me, sometimes, it is learning to trust Him, or learning about His grace, or coming to a deeper understanding of His love for me, and the sacrifice He made for me. Perhaps He is trying to give you His patience, or His wisdom through your struggles. Whatever it is- there is a lesson to be learned and a God who wants you to experience Him in the midst of it.
We all have a specific purpose, whether we are believers or unbelieving, God has a purpose and plan for your life. That purpose and that plan is to know that He is the Lord God who has redeemed you and has given you life. Take a moment today to look at what is going on around you- the things happening in your life right now- where is God? What is He trying to tell you?
Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” There is nothing that is out of God’s hands, and there is a purpose and a reason for every little detail of our lives- we just have to be open to hear Him and accept the lessons that He is giving us through them. It is not always easy, I should know! But realizing that through every aspect of my life God is drawing nearer to me as I draw nearer to Him, it makes every incident in my life become joyful and full of anticipation; where before, it was filled with worry and doubt, fear and unbelief.
If you are sitting on top of the mountain today with God- then take this opportunity to praise Him and draw a little closer. I am reminded of the Close-Up toothpaste commercial- “get a little closer, don’t be shy”- go ahead; get a little closer to God today. He wants you to. Intimacy is not something we desire- it is something God desires from us.
 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Amen!