CALL TO OBEDIENCE #458
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"God's Ways Are Past Finding Out"
Reimar A. C. Schultze
Jesus said: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God... (John 17:3). Most Christians know about God, but they do not know God. The Greeks have several words for our one word “knowledge.” The word Jesus uses here for knowledge is ginosko: “intimate knowledge that comes from a close relationship.” It is like before you were married, you knew about your spouse, but you did not really know your spouse until you got married.
You can tell whether a Christian really knows God by the way he lives, by how often he questions God when tragedy strikes, such as: “Where was God and why did God let this happen?” It is only natural for us to want to figure out God, to try to understand Him and to explain His ways. So, in the natural, we cannot avoid thinking these questions, but as we also become supernatural by virtue of our rebirth, we will quickly cast them off and reaffirm our total trust in God even as Jesus, being both natural and supernatural, did in the garden. He faithfully dismissed His natural desire: ...take away this cup from me... with His supernatural desire to obey God: ...nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36).
We must remember that the first question ever asked about the integrity of God, the goodness of God and the intentions of God was raised by the devil with: Did God really say...? (Gen. 3:1 NIV). Ever since that time, questions like this have fed our Christian institutions, our Sunday schools and our Bible studies. And when these questions are asked, many quiet participants have their faith in God destroyed. God commanded Adam and Eve to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve entertained the devil’s question: Did God really say...? which caused Adam and Eve to disobey God and then they were expelled from God’s garden. I warn you and I warn the church universal: do not engage in questions like these for they are road signs leading to hell. They will take you out of the garden of God’s presence as they did for Eve.
Solomon wisely said in this regard: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5 NIV emphasis added). Transformation takes place in the garden of God’s presence and not in trying to understand. Degeneration and darkness are found outside of His sacred garden. God is too big to be figured out by the human mind. By trying to do so, we develop a wrong perception of Him which may, without our knowing it, lead us to have a murderous spirit. This is what the Bible scholars of Jesus’ days did with it leading them to kill Him! This caused Saul of Tarsus to have a wrong perception of God and he went about trying to destroy Christianity. God wants us to know Him by revelation. This comes by walking with Him and we walk with Him by following Jesus. If Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God in His garden, they would have gone from glory to glory, been lifted up, transformed into His likeness and flourished in their hearts because of fresh revelations of God’s majesty forever.
Our problem is that we are looking for scholars when we should be looking for followers. We have become too reliant on scholars who have become the fulfillment of the prophecy that in the last days men will be: Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7). As theological education in the days of Jesus led to His crucifixion, so it often kills everything spiritual today. We are continuously graduating scholars who know about God without knowing Him, who have no prayer life and do not have a walk with God that comes out of intimacy with Him.
Where is God? Why does God make us go through this? These doubts disturb the relationship between us and God. God needs to be trusted entirely; He needs to be known as Job knew Him. When Job was struck by tragedy, his first response was that he fell on his face and worshiped. When tragedy strikes you, do you fall on your face and worship or do you question God? Do you know (ginosko) God? Do you know that He always has your best interests at heart, even when you cannot see it at the time?
If scholarship does not teach me to walk with God, I do not want any of it. If it does not lead to a fervent prayer life and a life of self-denial, I do not want any of it. If it does not lead us to loving our spouse better, to becoming pillars of the church and to witnessing for Jesus at every opportunity, I do not want any of it. We read after man, but here is what Paul said after he failed miserably reading after man: But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-12 NKJV). Think of it, the whole New Testament theology came out of revelation and not out of institutions. Let us now consider some reasons why we are so easily tempted to question God.
1. God is not limited by human nature. Human nature is limited. We can only run so fast, be in one place at a time and comprehend only so much with our finite minds. Human nature was tainted by the fall and can only function properly, in utter dependence on God. God is Spirit... (John 4:24). He is holy. Everything about Him is infinite and all His thoughts and actions spring out of Spirit. The way He thinks, responds to circumstances and assesses problems is different than the way we do. For example: God gave Abraham a miraculous son and then told him to kill him. God raised Dorcas, a seamstress, from the dead, but he allowed Paul to suffer with his thorn in the flesh all the rest of his life. Jesus called Peter “Satan,” but then six days later He took him to the Mount of Transfiguration as if nothing ever happened. God is a SPIRIT. His ways are past finding out. Can you trust God with your life? Will you? If you know (ginosko) Him, you will. His presence will go with you everywhere and you will know that the end will be beautiful beyond any man’s imagination.
2. God does not go by our clock. As humans, we run out of time. We begin and end; but for God, there is no beginning or end. We are jammed into this little space called “time” between birth and death, and it makes us nervous. We are, so to speak, continually running out of time. We have only so much time in which to accomplish everything, so the pressure is always on. We are losing time every day. We want God to bring revival in our time and to save our children soon! We want God to deliver us from pain today! And if need be, we may dance about and scream and yell as the prophets of Baal did to get our God to meet our expectations and to fit into our schedules. But God’s point of reference is not time but eternity. He does not move according to our schedules, but according to how the conditions of our hearts match His plan for the ages. Jesus did not heal the cripple at the Gate Beautiful, though He may have passed him often. He left that miracle for Peter and John. Mary and Martha panicked because Jesus missed their schedule for Lazarus to be healed; but Jesus, the Eternal Savior, defied the time limits of man and raised him from the dead four days after he had died. The incarnate Christ is eternity moving in time without being captive to it.
3. God does not mind looking like a loser. Man desires to look like a winner at all times. That is part of human nature. But remember, God does not have a human nature. God is not a man pleaser, so He does not worry about looking like a loser. Think of it: God chose to make His presence known in a little box, the Ark, 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet. He let the Philistines capture this little box (1 Sam. 4-6). God looked like a loser. But when that little box was placed next to the huge statue of Dagon, a Philistine god, Dagon fell flat on his face and the Almighty in the box won. King Jesus was born in a cave while King Herod feasted in a palace. How did God look when the Christ child fled to Egypt as a refugee? How did God look when His Son hung on the cross, bleeding and dying? God does not mind looking like a loser. He has an eternal plan and He is working it out, and that includes sometimes looking like a loser. It is the same with us as He works His eternal plan through us. We will look like losers at times. The more intimately we walk with God, our desire for reputation will decrease and our desire to live righteously will increase.
4. God is looking for perfect moments in which to move. Again, God sees everything in the light of eternity leading Him to wait 4,000 years to fulfill the promise given in Genesis: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son... (Gal 4:4). We humans desire action immediately and it is difficult for us to wait for something to come to perfection when we think it is already good enough. We desire to get souls to the altar before they fully feel convicted of their sins; we baptize them before they are willing to take up the cross; and we put up church buildings before the congregation is prepared to carry the financial load. We cannot spiritually and logically perceive that God is perfect and desires to wait for the perfect moment to do a perfect work. Our failure rate in the professing church is so great simply because we cannot wait for the corn to ripen, the eggs to hatch or the concrete to harden.
God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways or thoughts. If we want to walk with God, we must come to the knowledge (ginosko) of God that will satisfy us and give us our Sabbath rest. And now you know what Jesus meant when He prayed: ...that they might know Thee.