Friday, July 09, 2010
Today’s Topic: God Doesn’t Play Hide and Seek
Today’s Text: “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” (Isaiah 7:11)
I love playing hide and seek with my grandchildren. But the game is different depending upon how old they are. The older ones are starting to understand how to really play. They are learning to stay quiet while they hide. But the younger ones don’t get it yet, so when they hide and I finish counting, they almost immediately start making sounds to lead me to them. It’s so easy to find them because they give me signs as to where they are.
God never plays hide and seek. He wants to be found. He wants to reveal Himself to those who love Him. He wants to show us who He is and what He can do. He provides us with countless signs marking the path leading to faith. He knows that faith requires a knowable object of faith, and He is knowable and makes Himself known.
What a relief! God wants us to know Him. Granted, some of His ways are beyond knowing. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is infinite in His knowledge and wisdom, and we are not. But His nature and character can be known, and that is the primary object of our faith. We are not to demand signs that reveal what God can do, for that would be misplaced faith. We may ask for signs that reveal God’s presence for that is faith in who He is.
When God initiated the opportunity for King Ahaz to ask for a sign, it was to be a sign that demonstrated the presence of God. When Ahaz refused to ask, thinking He would be testing God, God initiated the delivery of a sign anyway – because He wants us to know Him and experience His presence. The sign was a baby named Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” God wants us to know His presence.
When we stand firm in our faith that is founded on the presence of God, we will see the demonstration of the power of God. Faith in the power without the presence is no faith at all. That’s why Jesus refused to give the Pharisees a sign when they asked for one. Their faith would have been misplaced. God wants us to know Him for who He is not for what He can do. His activity always emanates from His nature and character. To know Him is to experience His activity. He is the object of our faith.
The ministry of Jesus to His disciples was to get them to know Him so they could trust Him. When He left, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell them so they could know Him on a deeper and more meaningful way. Their faith grew not because of the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit but because of the revelation of the nature and character of Jesus to them through the Holy Spirit.
Faith that is placed in what an object can do is shallow faith. Faith placed in the object itself reveals an understanding of the nature of the object and therefore trusts the activity of the object. For example, the first time a father asks his son to jump off the counter into his arms, the child trusts the father to catch him. His trust is not based on the past experience of a catch – they’ve never done it before. The trust of the child is based solely on the character of the father that the son has learned through the knowledge of who he is. He knows the father’s love. He understands the father’s heart. He will experience the father’s power.
God will gladly provide us with all the signs we need to have that kind of faith. He will reveal his presence to us. We just need to ask Him. We’ve been asking for the wrong signs – signs of miraculous power to increase our faith. We’ve been disappointed because we just don’t seem to get an answer. We think God is playing hide and seek. He’s not. We just need to ask Him to reveal Himself for who He is. He wants us to know that first.