Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A lively God

Heb. 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Aug. 1, 2007
About 200 years ago a preacher by the name of Jonathen Edwards preached on this passage, his sermon was entitled, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God". It is reported that he read this sermon word for word off his notes in nearly a monotone voice, and yet by the close of the service the listeners were clinging to the pillars of the building, screaming that it was as if they could feel the flames of hell licking at their feet. What caused this reaction, clearly had nothing to do with his delivery, but instead with the profound content of the verse. When we break it down, we find layer after layer of doctrine condenced into these fourteen words.
First off we see that falling into the hands of a God ready to take vengance on those whom vengenace is due, is a fearful thing. We often lose sight of the fact that we serve a God that is complex and multifaceted, we do not undersand evrything he does, we're not told to understand we're told to believe and accept it as holy. It is a very popular subject today to talk about the love of God, there's nothing wrong with that, God is love. (I John 4:8) The problem arises when we attempt to limit God to that single attribute, God is not limited and he is as fearful to those who reject him, as he is loving to those who are his children.
Second, we see that it is a fearful thing to fall into his hands. That is to find youself completely at his mercy. God can do all his holy will and "none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan. 5:35) Our God is all powerful, and at every moment of every day we are completely at his mercy, even "the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as rivers of water he turneth it withersoever he will" (Prov. 21:1) Once again we try to limit God to a position where he is convinient for us to access. God has hands that reach to every corner of the earth. To be at the mercy of such powerful hands and be deserving of punishment would be fearful indeed.
Thirdly, we see it is a living God. Whether you choose to recognize it now or at the moment of your death, there is a God and he is very alive. Two prevalent ideas in this age is that there is no God, or that God is not active. The secular realm sticks to the "no God" argument, the obvious point of this scripture is that the fearful thing is that he is alive. The "religious" crowd tries to tell you that God got this world spinning and then just sat back and let it alone. This word "living" however entails being "lively" or active, our God is not limited to heaven, he works in evryone's life, every day, acting for the good of his children and his own glory.
These are just the three most obvious points of this verse, but still enough to make us reconsider how we view God and fit him into our lives. Do we think of him as an unlimited deity that can do all his holy will, or a limited God that we have carved out to fit our wants? As C. S. Lewis said of Aslan "He is good, but he is not a tame lion."

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