A man cuts down a tree. He takes half of it and builds a fire and with the other half he makes an idol. He carves the wooden image and begins to worship it and thanks it for saving him.
This is a rough sketch of some of the prophecies in Isaiah and some of the other Major Prophets in the Old Testament. Originally this kind of speech was reserved for Israelites and the foreigners of their land.
As of recently I have been contemplating the way we as Bible believing Christians can be addressed by this same scripture. We are just as capable of creating a god in our image as a pagan would create his own god. For example without any divine guidance we can begin attaching Christian principles to our gatherings, forming lessons on the messiah, singing songs that place Jesus at the center.
So what are you saying you’re not making since? God is a creator. He is the maker of His Church. He chose His first twelve and He continues to choose those who will follow Him. He chooses those who He wants to use to plant ministries and those who will temporarily guide His church. Choosing to do a religious act will at best produce religion. But when God guides us He can accomplish eternal goals.
We have been preparing to launch a new season of ministry at our church and the Lord has been preparing us for it. Before a prayer meeting today we had a talk about how we have a tendency to use our time with God talking to Him like He is some type of cosmic psychologist. The truth is that He desires us to be still. So after our talk we began to pray and something happened. He happened. His presence was thick and calming. Yet it was almost arresting, kinda petrifying. He freed us our desire to lead His prayer meeting and made us revere Him. Half of our time was spent in His silence, corporately waiting and listening and interacting. It was an amazing act of God and of obedience among the people.
We must realize that God is not just here to pat us on the head and listen to our problems. He has an agenda.
When we begin to spend our time with Him listening to His counsel there are many huge benefits. One, He speaks the truth to us. He can say truths like, we are his children, we are loved, we are forgiven, or we should not worry about the future. As a result of just listening in our prayer time we are given confidence to walk with a boldness and peace.
Two, when we take time to listen to Him we get to know His character. His character is not a generic mail box where we drop off our request and give Him a token hand shake. He has a way about Him that when you get to know it in prayer you develop an ability to recognize Him when your eyes are open.
Three, when we listen to Him and quiet our hearts we gain His strength by His grace. Prayer can very easily turn into an act of work to achieve God’s favor. If you go into prayer striving for the right prayer, that will somehow unlock grace, we distort the truth of the Good News. But to find the stillness before Him reveals the true nature of God’s grace. You quiet your heart and still your body and God descends to lift your soul.
Four, you gain the power to resist evil. After spending time in the stillness of God you gain a peaceful strength that enables you to restrain from hasty speech or thoughtless actions.
What else can be said but, don’t waste your time flapping your arms pretending to be something your not. Be still and know that He is God. Find Him in the God infested place of complete silence and submit your insides to Him. He is trustworthy; He really is God, when you get completely quiet He will be there to guide you. Test this truth, it is most rewarding.