My heart hurts for people who believe that the world just happened. Society has matured, many think, to advance beyond the need to believe in a Creator. Through science we will eventually, they posit, explain everything and master our environment while bending it to shape our will. And we can do it all without the need for an overseeing God.
Reginald Heber (1783-1826), an Anglican bishop and hymn writer, included an explanation for this inability to see God in his well-known composition, “Holy Holy Holy.” Heber wrote:
Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.
Take a look around, at the evidence of depravity in human hearts. Our knowledge of the operation of the universe may be growing, but sin remains the number one challenge. Spoiler alert: God has already solved that problem.
Some believe in a laissez-fair God. “If He is creator,” they say, “He started the world with a bang and now remains aloof while things run their course.” If anyone had evidence to hold such a viewpoint it was the Old Testament character, Job. Circumstances hammered Job, circumstances for which he had no explanation, and Job confessed that he could not find God in the swirl of adversity. Here are his comments.
I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed. “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.Job 23:8-10 NLT
That message came from a heart filled with faith. On those days when God seems distant or even absent I find comfort in Scripture. Those words, God’s love letter to me, touch my heart even if I don’t understand them all. I love to read a passage then note the verbs ascribed to God. He is alive. He is busy. He is working.
David, another hymn writer, turned the spotlight on God’s work among us in a moving call to worship, Psalm 103. David reminded himself and his readers of the need to pause and take stock.
A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;Psalms 103:1-2 NASB
Consider all the ways God has evidenced Himself in daily life. David listed some of those benefits, and pay attention to the verbs as you read through.
Pardons – God’s unlimited grace.
Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;Psalms 103:3 NASB
Redeems – God’s offer of a life of significance.
Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;Psalms 103:4 NASB
Satisfies – God’s generosity.
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.Psalms 103:5 NASB
Performs – God’s work on our behalf.
The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed.Psalms 103:6 NASB
Reveals – God’s revelation of Himself to us.
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.Psalms 103:7 NASB
Restrains – God’s patience and mercy.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.Psalms 103:8-9 NASB
Forgives – God’s forgiveness.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.Psalms 103:10-12 NASB
Observes – God’s awareness of our makeup and limits.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.Psalms 103:13-14 NASB
Loves – God’s everlasting love for us.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.Psalms 103:15-18 NASB
Rules – God’s sovereignty
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.Psalms 103:19 NASB
And what should be our response to God’s activity on our behalf? David spells that out, too.
Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!Psalms 103:20-22 NASB