You Think He Doesn’t Know?

He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge— the Lord —knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. (Psalm 94:9-11 ESV)

Sometimes I think we convince ourselves that God isn’t aware of what is going on. This verse says otherwise. In fact it takes it to a whole new level. Not only does he hear and see, but this text reminds us that he is the Creator of our very ears and eyes so of course he knows.

Not only that but he also rules over the world, all the nations. All knowledge we have us taught by him. When we rebel against him we actually are using the mind that God gave us to decide to not obey.

God knows even our deepest thoughts. That’s scary, as for me I have some pretty sinful thoughts. How does he still then love me? What does he think of me? If we are his adopted sons and daughters by faith in Jesus, he sees Jesus in us and by faith alone we stand justifies before him. Each day then is lived in grace as we grow, fail, grow some more, fail some more…yet always under the all knowing all powerful and all loving, eyes and ears of our Heavenly Father.

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Habakkuk Thoughts: Living by Faith and God’s Sovereignty Over Sin

Reading thru Habakkuk this morning I was struck by 2 things.  One of them is pretty quick, the other one not so much.

Habakkuk 2:4b is the famous “the righteous shall live by faith.”  I’ve always put the accent on “faith” but this morning as I read it I realized that the intended emphasis may be on “live.”  This is then picked up in the New Testament in Rom 1:17;  Gal 3:11 and Eph 2:8 – and used to explain that we are not actually saved by keeping religion, we are saved by trusting in Jesus Christ as our sin-bearer.  But this trust is not a one time thing – it’s a daily continuing thing.

Again, the ESV study note helped me see this, it says  – “The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes, and that the NT authors promote, is continuing trust in God and clinging to his promises, even in the darkest days.”

Piper is all over this.  Check out When I Don’t Desire God and/or Future Grace.  The read Hab 2:4b with emphasis like this – “the righteous shall live by faith” and pray that God will give you the perspective that we need to be trusting in him with our lives constantly.

So, switching gears – I was also struck this AM by God’s sovereignty over sin.  Habakkuk is complaining to God about how bad things are, the Lord informs him that he is going to use the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to come in and exile the people of Israel, for their hundreds of years of rebelling against God, despite his hundreds of years of warning that he is going to do this…they persist.   Habakkuk complains again to God, but this time seemingly taking issue with this plan.  He says in 1:12-13 basically, you have ordained this to happen this way, but you are going to use the Babylonians?  Really?

Skip ahead to 2:6-20 – we see the Lord is intending to punish the Babylonians too for their sin.  Declaring “woe” on them for their conquering other nations, their murdering, their pride in their nation from unjust means.

Here’s the mind melter:  God doesn’t cause sin, but he is sovereign over it and he always is just and true to his holiness – he will always punish sin.

God knows the sin of the Babylonians – he is sovereign over that sin and uses it for his purposes for Israel.  Yet, he will indeed punish the sin of Bablyon.

We all make the choice to sin, like Israel and Babylon.  God doesn’t cause that sin in our lives, but he is sovereign over it and uses it for his purposes.  Yet he will punish our sin as well.

But…thank God there is a but…(Eph 2:1-10)

We will be punished for our sin, by being banished from his presence forever in Hell, or he will apply the punishment given to his Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross and that blood will be payment and payment in full.   He is both JUST and the JUSTIFIER of those who have faith in Christ Jesus.  (Rom 3:26). He will always treat sin as it deserves, but yet he has provided a way for us to be justified from that sin, in his Son Jesus Christ.

As for those that have been sinned against – whoever sinned against you will be punished – either they will be punished in Hell or they will have the sacrifice of Jesus applied to them as God’s accepted payment by faith in Jesus. Kinda changes the way I’ve been praying for a few situations.

May we all turn (repent) from our sin and turn to Christ so that we may live in faith!

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.  For I am God, and there is no other. (Is 45:22)

Snowed in and being blown away by Packer

So, I cracked open one of my Christmas books “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” by J.I. Packer.  We have about 2 feet of snow here in Northern NJ…so I have found some time to dig into this…

Wow.

I love this book.

I’ll just briefly share some of the things that I’ve highlighted, underlined, and written “AMEN” in the margin for you to whet your whistle…

For it is not true that some Christians believe in divine sovereignty while others hold an opposite view. What is true is that all Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware that they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it. What causes this odd state of affairs?  The root cause is the same as in most cases of error in the church – the intruding of rationalistic speculations, the passion for systematic consistency, a reluctance to recognize the mystery and to let God be wiser than men, and a consequent subjecting of Scripture to the supposed demands of human logic.

Packer continues…

the desire to oversimplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries is natural to our perverse minds, and it is not surprising that even good people should fall victim to it.

Why is it that we have to try fit God into a human form? Why is it that we “dumb down” the message so much and not let it stand in it’s complexity and mystery? We try to understand everything God is doing in our lives and try to understand everything God has set up…we cannot do that!  He is not like us and we will not understand these things – if we did – that would make us…umm…God and we are not!  We need to let God be God and stop constantly trying to figure God out…this sometimes doesn’t sit well with us, does it?

Packer talks about Paul’s rejecting of the spirit of this questioning from Romans 9

…observe how Paul replies. He does not attempt to demonstrate the propriety of God’s action; instead, he rebukes the spirit of the question.  “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” What has the objector to learn is that he, a creature and a sinner, has no right whatsoever to find fault with the revealed ways of God. Creatures are not entitled to register complains about their Creator.

Those that know me, will not be surprised that I will bring this back to the gospel – and the role of the church to teach the gospel.  For the more we know of God and God’s plan the more we will rightly see our proper place in it.

…the good news was just this: that God has executed his eternal intention of glorifying his Son by exalting as a great Savior for great sinners.  Such is the gospel which Paul was sent to preach.  It is a message of some complexity, needing to be learned before it can be lived by, and understood before it can be applied. It needs therefore, to be taught.

To teach the gospel is his first responsibility: to reduce it to it’s simplest essentials, to analyze it point by point, to fix it’s meaning by positive and negative definition, to show how each part of the message links up with the rest– and to go on explaining it till he is quite sure that his listeners have grasped it.

You will note that Packer did not say that Paul’s goal was to preach pragmatic, men-centered lessons on how to “Unlock the 7 Secrets of the Happiness Code” – or “How To” lessons – it is the Gospel in the full counsel.  “to show how each part of the message links up with the rest…”

May we proclaim the mystery of God thru the Gospel!  2 Cor 4:1-2

1Therefore, having(A) this ministry(B) by the mercy of God,[a] we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced(C) disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or(D) to tamper with God’s word, but(E) by the open statement of the truth(F) we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.