I received a message from a friend on Facebook encouraging me to click on a link to find out who was visiting to my main page. It seemed a little unusual for my friend to send such a thing so I ignored it. It “smelled” like a scam. Within a few moments, I noticed that my friend posted that her account had been hacked and that everyone should not click on that link. I let her know I didn’t respond and noticed that another person had written, “I ignored it because it didn’t sound like something you would do.”
That comment has been resonating in my mind since then. I can think of several applications.
First, we can know if God is “in” something by “is it like Him?” Is He initiating a certain move? Is He telling us to do something? If we know God’s heart and His character, and how He has acted in the past (through the Bible), then we can know if it’s “something He would do.”
Now, I realize that’s harder than we’d like to think. God can’t be placed in a box. The Bible is a collection of God’s “movements” and not all of them seem to reveal a consistent pattern. God works in marvelous and mysterious ways at times. I don’t think He ever contradicts His nature–that’s impossible. Everything He does springs from the same amazing characteristics of His nature. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8). He never contradicts Himself, yet we can too easily pick out something and say it’s not like Him.
Some people really camp on this when they talk about God’s love. They say, “If God is love then He would never allow pain or hurt or anything bad to happen.” Their definition is that being loving means only good things happen. But God in His infinite love knows what’s truly “good.” And His definition of “good” may not be our definition of “good.”
I wonder if the Israelites had that trouble. Psalm 103:6-7 tells us, “The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.”
Remember how the Israelites didn’t want to go up the mountain to meet with God? They sent Moses. “Moses, you go. We don’t want to meet with such a powerful God.” Their attitude was, “We’re not quite sure what He’s about.”
I’ve pondered the difference between “ways” and “acts” and come up with what I think the difference is:
“ways” represent a person’s heart
“acts” represent only what is seen that they do.
Moses knew God’s heart; but the Israelites only focused on what He had done. You’d think that His miracles would have impressed the Israelites but it only seems to have frightened them. They couldn’t see God’s heart behind His acts so they were not motivated to move toward Him in relationship. Maybe they couldn’t trust God because He was powerful and seemed unpredictable. He couldn’t be controlled or anticipated.
Do you know God’s ways or only His acts? Not only can we say, “I knew, Lord, that was (or wasn’t) You,” but we can hopefully say, “I know your heart behind what you do.” I think we can know that by studying and paying attention to God’s attributes. For me, His sovereignty is most meaningful.
Which of God’s attributes are most meaningful to you?
I’ll give the second “application” next time.