Summary: Your understanding of God's nature will influence your expectation of Him
May 9, 2020
Title: Your Expectation
I have been retired for over two years now. This “Pandemic” that we have all fallen victim to is changing the landscape of our faith and our church experience. I saw a recent report on the Internet that said there is a “Pandemic” Revival taking place around the world. People are turning to the Bible and are placing their faith in Christ through online church services. And there are tons of church services that can be found. If you can’t find one that you can agree with, keep searching… you’ll find something. I wrote that last sentence with a bit of sarcasm. The truth is that if you are looking, find something – someone – who preaches the Word of God; not diluted, not apologetic, not powerless – but the Word of God that displays the true nature of God.
Now, going back to my retirement… I don’t miss preaching much. I do miss the people that I ministered to in Palmyra. But the Lord allowed me to retire and move back to my hometown where I have been able to be involved in ministry in my home church. At the same time, He is firmly implanting the foundation stones of His Word within me. Not that they weren’t there already, but a strengthening of that foundation based on my biblical understanding of the nature of God. This is not some “NEW” revelation from God, but a clearer understanding of His relationship with His creation – us.
Today, as I write, I am reminded of my early preaching ministry. I used to listen to all my sermons after they were preached so that I could hear any patterns in my delivery that may be annoying or cause distractions to those who were listening. I soon found out that I was a better writer than I was a speaker. So now I am satisfied just to put words down on paper to let you read them, knowing that they are my understanding of Scripture based on the foundation of His Word that He has built in me over the last 20 years.
In John Chapter 5 we read a story of the healing of the man who was crippled.
Joh 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
Joh 5:3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
I have heard this passage preached numerous times over the years as an excuse for the church to believe that we can never expect God to heal… I mean, there were hundreds, or even thousands of other people there that Jesus must have stepped around to get to this one man, and He didn’t heal them.
That’s where I want to get to today. What are your expectations?
Let’s start out our study by looking at the very first contact that Jesus has with this man.
John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
The NIV leaves out part of verse 3 and all of verse 4 that are found in other translations,
In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.
For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
It seems obvious that the man wanted to get well. He was just looking to the wrong source.
He had turned his faith in the direction of the rest of the multitude… Now I’m not saying that these people didn’t think that this was God at work… For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water… What I am saying is this: Their understanding of what God wanted to do skewed by their “religious” tradition. They were looking for God to do something rather than looking at God’s nature.
I love looking at the Old Testament names of God. It helps me get a clearer view of His very nature. So when we read the words Jehovah Shalom we see that Jehovah (I AM) Shalom (Peace). It doesn’t say that peace is What God does… it is who HE is the same for Jehovah-Jireh. (I AM PROVIDER) and Jehovah-Raphe (I AM HEALER). And herein lies a problem with many New Testament believers. We tend to trust God for what He does (or what we have seen Him do) and not for Who He is.