Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

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Who Knows The Creator?

October 11, 2009

I’m going through Job now, for a small group study. In the midst of all his problems, Job says the following when talking about who he thinks caused all the troubles in his life.

Job 12:7-12 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?

Job 13:1 “My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it.

Not only does Job himself “know” that it was God – so also do the birds, the fish, and even the earth itself. Sounds like Job is really angry with God – and he is.

This is the same Job who earlier (but still after his troubles were in full force) said:

Job 9:4-10 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.

So Job also knows that God created everything, and has control over everything.

But – shortly afterwards, Job also says:

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.

Job 14:13-17 “If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.

Remember, this is Old Testament stuff – pre Jesus. Job is talking about hope in God, forgiveness of sins, and a second life.

Consider this, from 1 Peter 1:3-8

Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a hope that is alive. It is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to him. It is a gift that can never be destroyed. It can never spoil or even fade away. It is kept in heaven for you. Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power. Your salvation is going to be completed. It is ready to be shown to you in the last days. Because you know this, you have great joy. You have joy even though you may have had to suffer for a little while. You may have had to suffer sadness in all kinds of trouble. Your troubles have come in order to prove that your faith is real. It is worth more than gold. Gold can pass away even though fire has made it pure. Your faith is meant to bring praise, honor and glory to God. That will happen when Jesus Christ returns. Even though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, you believe in him. You are filled with a glorious joy that can’t be put into words. You are receiving the salvation of your souls. It is the result of your faith.

Sure sounds familiar.

How does Job know all of this? It’s so far after his time. He doesn’t seem to be a prophet – just a good man with a whole heap of troubles: all of his property and wealth gone; all of his children dead; living in a trash dump; listening to three “friends” tell him that he must have brought the whole thing down on himself by sinning against God – while knowing full well that he didn’t do that. How can he know all of this – and how can he have such deep understanding? Even though he turns out to be wrong about the cause (it was Satan, not God who caused the bad things to happen) – he was absolutely right in knowing that God was his hope. Maybe even incredibly right, since the very One he thought was causing it was also the same One he knew to be his only hope.

Here’s another question – perhaps a better and more relevant one. Why don’t we know this today as certainly as Job did then? Why is it so hard for us? We have the Bible to read – which was pretty much impossible for most people prior to Martin Luther, the printing press, and education that made it possible for so many people to read. We have the benefit of knowing about Jesus – which Job didn’t. We have the Holy Spirit – which Job didn’t. Everything is so much in favor of us – in this day and age – knowing these truths that Job knew with none of the advantages that we have today. And yet so many don’t know it at all – or still have trouble believing it.

If you watch Fox News and see Bill O’Reilly – you’ve likely heard him claim to be Catholic. The other day he also said he doesn’t know if Jesus is really God. Bill is willing to say that Jesus was a good man, but not willing to say for sure that he was God. Maybe he said this because he was worried about ratings – or maybe he really isn’t sure. Either way - what does that say about the strength of his belief in what he claims to be (a practicing Catholic)? What about us? Do we believe that Jesus is God? Do we know that Jesus is God? It would be most wise to have an answer to this question. Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:32-33 -

“What about someone who says in front of others that he knows me? I will also say in front of my Father who is in heaven that I know him. But what about someone who says in front of others that he doesn’t know me? I will say in front of my Father who is in heaven that I don’t know him.”

So – do you know that Jesus is God? Do you really know it and believe it in your heart? And just in case you think that what Bill said is “good enough”, one more quote, this time from Revelation 3:15-16 -

‘I know what you are doing. I know you aren’t cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other! But you are lukewarm. You aren’t hot or cold. So I am going to spit you out of my mouth.’

When I was young, I remember the priests used to say that you can’t sit on the fence when it comes to God. If you don’t truly believe – then you may as well not believe at all. I didn’t understand this before. Now I do – understand it – and truly believe.

If you’re still in doubt:

– talk to God – He will answer; talk to a true believer – one who will pray with you / for you to know God – He will answer.

If you are a believer, but come to periods in your life when you have doubts – or difficult periods:

– talk to God – He will answer; talk to a true believer – one who will pray with you / for you to know God – He will answer.

If you are a believer, and never have any doubts or difficult periods in your life:

– talk to God – He will answer; talk to a true believer – one who will pray with you / for you to know God – He will answer.
because you’re probably in denial. It happens to all of us.

Don’t believe that? – think you can go it alone and don’t need any help or encouragement because you’re always so “with God” that you don’t need anyone else? Beware – that’s a dangerous thought. Even Paul wrote in Romans 1:11-12 -

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—
that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

I end tonight with this final thought: At any given point in time - maybe you need someone’s encouragement – or maybe someone else needs your encouragement. Either way, like Job, know the God you worship – know that he created all of us, everyone and everything. Keep Him where He belongs – the One True God, above all other gods. He is our only hope – and as such, it wouldn’t be good to have Him say that He doesn’t know us, because we didn’t know Him.

I want Jesus to be able to say to the Father that He does know me, because I know Him.