Christian books are a lot more popular today than they were a few years ago. Most major (and smaller) bookstores have a section dedicated to religious books. A couple even made it to the Paperback Nonfiction Best Sellers list. Looking at the selection of Christian books in a typical book store, it struck me how many books attempt to help the reader “figure out” our great and mysterious God. Here are some titles you may see:
- What Is God?
- Making Sense of the Old Testament God
- How to understand God
- God according to God
- The God I don’t understand
There were lots more books like these – and it amazes me that there is so much time and effort being devoted to “figuring out” who God is! Surely our God who created us in His image, who loved us enough to sacrifice his only Son so that we can be close with Him again, wants us to know him intimately! If so, how difficult can it be to know God?
While reading Isaiah today, it struck me how transparent God is. He does not hide his feelings from us. He does not leave us wondering about His plans for the world. And how wonderful that He does not hide His love for us! God is completely open to us with His feelings.
God does not hide his anguish when rejected by His people:
The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand. (Isaiah 1:3)
God’s feels the pain when he punishes his people – he doesn’t want to punish them! And yet his righteousness demands it.
Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion? (Isaiah 1:5)
God’s frustration is clear to see, when he cannot get through to his people!
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me. (Isaiah 1:13)
God feels disappointment when we do not live up to what we are capable of
What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad? (Isaiah 5:4-5)
God’s plan is to reconcile with his people, not punish them.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:18)
Friends, God is an open book. He hides nothing from us that is for our good. His love for us is plain to see. Continue reading Isaiah and you will see that despite an intense anger that is not satiated even by the most terrible punishments, (chapter 9), God is compassionate enough to help his people go through the suffering! (Isaiah 10:24-25)
Very soon my anger against you will end
and my wrath will be directed to their destruction. (v 25)
Can you imagine that? Even in the midst of meting out terrible punishments on his people, God is compassionate enough to reach out to his people, to reassure them that it is temporary, to encourage them to bear with it!
Friends, God does not need to be “figured out”. The character of God is plain to see. We don’t need mountains of books to tell us who God is, because He has already revealed Himself to us through his living Word.
Instead, let us devote our time and energy to loving him. And how do we love an invisible God?
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. – John 14:23
Let us spend time with God, listening to Him, abiding in Him and obeying Him.