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Summary: Is God far off? Why does it seem like He is? How should I act, pray, and live when it seems like God is far away?

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#3 - Is God Far Away

Many of you remember where you were when you heard the news on 9/11? Many of you remember where you were when you heard the explosion on April 15th in OKC. In those kind of moments of chaos, so many people ask “Where is God?”

This week, the world heard the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead, shot in the head by a US Navy Seal team. The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, the leader of Al Qaeda, who was responsible for the killing of over 3,000 of our citizens.

But it took us 10 years to bring justice to this mass murderer. He went on living in relative comfort in a compound worth about $1 million, 1000 feet from the Pakistani army training center. Do you remember the anger and questioning that took place in your mind and the minds of others after 9/11?

PHILIP YANCEY’S BOOK – Disappointment with God – guy who lost his faith after a Kuhlman campaign.

All this is not that far from the way David felt... why did the Osama bin Ladens of his day seem to succeed?

Psalm 10:1 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Lesson #1: When God seems far off, ask God the hard questions.

God is watching the apples.

At a church gathering, someone stacked a pile of apples on one end of a table with a sign saying, "Take only one apple please - God is watching." On the other end of the table was a pile of cookies which a teenager had placed a sign on saying, "Take all the cookies you want - God is busy watching the apples."

Sometimes, it feels that way in your life, like if God is there, he’s busy and watching the apples, and you’re on the other end of the table.

I want to point out something… even in the OT, God is portrayed as a God who wants desperately to be known, loved and trusted by His creatures.

The men who seem to relate to him best, were shockingly familiar with Him, almost brash in their boldness.

David – “Where are you??! Why are you gone in the day of trouble?”

Jeremiah – “Why did you even let me be born?”

Moses – “If this is how you’re going to treat me, then just let me die.”

Abraham – “I know you’ve said you’re planning on destroying Sodom, but let me make a bargain with you. How about 50? 40? 30? 10?”

Isaiah – “

Elijah – “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me. Just let me die.”

David, over and over, asks God HARD questions.

2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.

3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.

4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

5 His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.

6 He says to himself, "Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble."

7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims.

9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.

11 He says to himself, "God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees."

Lesson #2: When God seems far off, tell him exactly what’s going on.

David’s language here is so descriptive.

If you don’t vent to God, resentment may build up in the hard times. You need to vent to Him. Go ahead, boldly speak. Tell him in detail what is going on.

Psalm 142:2 I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.

Here’s what I’ve noticed: People sometimes build up resentment toward people they’ve never been honest with.

Have you noticed this? Someone comes to you and tells you “So-and-So is so mad at you… they can’t believe what you did, and they’re not going to speak to you again.” And you’re like, “WHY DIDN’T THEY SAY SOMETHING?” Isn’t that frustrating that someone could hold anger or a grudge against you, when they never took time to be honest with you. I would say that honesty would solve 50% of your people problems.

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