Summary: If you seek God, He will find you!
THIRSTING FOR GOD
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In the first few pages of the Biblical narrative we learn that sin separates humanity from God. Even though humanity was created in the image of God, after the Fall, humankind was separated from God because of sin. Due to our arrogant self-reliance to be “god” (Edith Humphrey) and our lack of gratitude for the created order, humankind was not only separated from the ease of communion with God, as experienced in the Garden of Eden, but also received the wages of sin, suffering and death (Romans 6:23). It is out of our creaturely limitations that our whole being longs to grasp to know and have a relationship with our Creator. While one would think this would be easy for the image bearers (Genesis 1:27), ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and royal priests (1 Peter 2:9) to obtain; it certainly is not! The following sermon will explain three truths of how we got distant from God and will then finish with three steps a person can take to embrace His transforming love!
Truth #1: Our noble efforts to find God is “only dust building on dust” (A. W. Tozer) because for a person to seek God, God must first seek the person.
In his book “Knowledge of the Holy” A. W. Tozer masterfully outlines the incompressibility of God. Opening prayer by Tozer: “Lord how great is our dilemma, in thy presence silence best becomes us but love inflames our hearts and constrains us to speak. Were we to hold our peace the stones would cry out, yet if we speak what shall we say? Teach us to know that we cannot know, for the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God. Let faith support us where reason fails and we shall think because we believe, not in order that we may believe. In Jesus name, Amen.“ One of the greatest questions ever asked by humanity is: what is God like? For Tozer one simply cannot answer this question except to say that God is not exactly like anything or anyone we can imagine. We learn by using what we already know as a bridge to pass over to the unknown. Even the most vigorous mind simply cannot create something out of nothing by a spontaneous act of imagination. Those strange beings of mythology and superstition are not mere creations of the mind. Someone has used the ordinary elements of the earth, air and sea and taken their familiar forms and extending them beyond their normal boundaries. No matter how grotesque or beautiful these creations of the mind might seem, they are not new for they are like something or someone already known.
The effort of the inspired writers of Scripture to use words to describe an unknowable God has placed great strain upon both their thoughts and language. Karl Bath explains the limitations of human language. Words for Bath have meaning but only are limited when used to describe God because what can be said about Him never truly represents Him. Having received a revelation above nature, the writers are forced to use many like words to make what they saw understood, not only by themselves but also by their readers. When the prophet Ezekiel saw heaven open and saw visions of God he found himself looking at that which he had no language to describe. What he saw was wholly different than anything he had ever known so he fell back on the language of resemblance and concluded his description was merely “the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (Ezekiel 1:28).
When Scripture says we were created in the image of God we dare not state in the exact image for that would make man a replica of God and would end in no God at all. We simply cannot break down the infinite wall that stands between that which is God from that which is not God. To assign to God mere human attributes is to rob God of His divine attributes and to make humanity on equal par with Him. When we try to describe God we have to out of necessity use that which is not God to describe that which is God. Whatever, we visualize God to be, He is not. If we insist on imagining God we end up with an idol of the thoughts and the idol of the mind is as offensive as any idol made by hands. Left to our own imaginations we tend to create God in manageable terms. We want to get Him to where we can control Him. What He is like often becomes a composite of ourselves in a mirror.
If God is unknowable, then how are we to come to satisfy our longing for Him? How can we come to know He who cannot be known by the mind or the heart? How can we be held accountable for knowing He who cannot be known? No one can know the Father except the Son (John 14:16). Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1:11 that we can only know God through His Spirit that lives inside of us. Deep calleth unto deep and though polluted by sin of the Fall, the soul senses and longs to return to its origin. It is in Christ and by Christ that God discloses what can be known not by reason but by faith and love. While God can be known by the soul in personal tender experience, while remaining infinitely aloof to the curious eyes of reason, constitutes a paradox best described as darkness to the intellect but sunshine to the heart. God will take the soul by the hand and lead the person into faith and love. If we ask the question what is God in Himself – there is no answer, but if we ask what has God revealed about Himself there is plenty a temporal being can know (most of this section is direct quotes from A. W. Tozer).