Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, March 29, 2010

God's Self-Revelation

That God has revealed Himself in historical circumstances comes as no surprise considering the Bible is steeped in history. The Bible opens with a historical account of the origin of the universe, man, and sin. Those who attempt to accommodate faulty science and archaeology yet want to keep the Bible for its ethical teachings claim the Bible is not a history book. They are mistaken because the Bible is a history book. It is the history of God with regard to the way He deals with man. God reveals Himself to us in a unique way through that history. Immediately after the first Passover, Moses commanded the people to “remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place.” A few verses later, after Moses laid out the guidance for performing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, he told them why it was important: “And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.’ It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.” Throughout the Pentateuch, God commanded His people to teach their children about the things He has done in the past. History is crucial to knowing God for who He is. Using historical events He demonstrates His faithfulness. God was faithful to Abraham by making him a great nation. He was faithful to Moses when He used him to deliver the children of Israel from Pharaoh’s clutches. He was faithful to Daniel when He delivered him from the mouth of the lions. He was faithful to Peter when He made him a fisher of men and faithful to Paul by making him know how to be content in all circumstances. I can know God is faithful because He has over 5000 years of proven, historical track record. Because of His past faithfulness, I can rest assured He will make all things work together for my good. I can know that He is faithful to seal me until the day of redemption. I can also know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

God has blessed us by not only revealing Himself in history, He reveals Himself in natural phenomena. The first example is the greatest example – that of creation by fiat. Man has tried to remove God from creation throughout history, but every instance has shown his futility. In his refusal to see God as He reveals Himself in nature, man has concocted theories as diverse and bizarre as evolution and quantum physics. Modern “tolerant” man always speaks of having an open mind. Unfortunately, the only thing modern man opens his mind to is sin, degradation, blasphemy, and perversion. If man truly had an open mind, he could not help but see God’s natural revelation. Romans 1:20 states this clearly: “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.” Not only is God seen in nature as a whole, there is historical precedence of God revealing Himself through the use of natural phenomena. God revealed Himself to Noah in a rainbow, Hagar in the desert heat, and Joseph in a famine. God revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush, a cloud, and a pillar of fire. A famine led Elimelech to Moab where his son married Ruth. God used fire in a furnace to reveal His protection of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He used a whale to get His point across to Jonah. God unmistakably revealed Himself to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram when He opened up the earth and swallowed them whole. Although God has sometimes chosen to reveal Himself in natural phenomena, we must caution against believing that all phenomena are examples of revelation. God pointed this out to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12. “Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” While God has revealed Himself in historical circumstances and using natural phenomena, His definitive revelation is His Word: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”


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