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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pondering the "unknown"

We had hopes of getting rain this past week, with lots of lightening, blowing wind, and very grey skies.  It was almost black in places - with evidence rain was falling in some parts of town in pretty significant quantities.  As I left for work that morning, I saw a beautiful double rainbow - not just pieces of it, but the entire two "bows" of the double beauty.  It was awesome to look upon, and I remember thinking how awesome God was.  It was not a fleeting thought because I continued to see that rainbow off to the west as I made my drive north to the freeway.  The sun was rising in the east, resulting in the most vibrant of colors against that black sky of the west.  It is times like those when we can look at the beauty of what God has created and begin to ponder his greatness.  It also makes me ponder why man is so important to God - why it is he chose to work with such a "feeble" and "fickle" lot as us.  If you stop long enough to appreciate what is around you, you might be wondering why God chose to make humans so important in the scheme of all things created.  This is not a new question - for prophets, priests, and kings have pondered that same question down through the ages.  

I look at the heavens you made with your hands.  I see the moon and the stars you created.  And I wonder, “Why are people so important to you?  Why do you even think about them?  Why do you care so much about humans?  Why do you even notice them?”  (Psalm 8:3-4 ERV)

God didn't create humans one day because he wanted a bunch of friends he could "hang out with" on cool summer evenings, or linger with over cool lemonade on a hot summer's day.  Think about it - God already had hundreds and hundreds of angels he could "hang out with" in the heavens - so he didn't just need more "company".  In fact, those angels gave him enough "problems" since Lucifer was an angel in the heavens and managed to take about 1/3 of all the angels into sin with him when he decided to choose his own devices over God's, wanting to be like a god rather than serving the one true God.  So, even with 1/3 of the angels determining their loyalty to be aligned with Lucifer (Satan), God still had 2/3 of the angels worshiping him, doing his every command, and "living large" in his presence.  He had lots of "company".

Man has pondered this question for centuries and I don't think we will ever quite understand the answer to it until we stand face-to-face with God one day.  In the meantime, we can simply stand assured of this one thing - we serve the one who gives breathe to all living things, created everything which is for our benefit, and intentionally gave us the inner ability to choose who it is we will yield our lives to.  It wasn't because he wanted "company", but because he wanted fellowship with those he created in his tremendous love.  Fellowship differs from merely keeping "company" with someone.  In the ability to choose, we have the ability to determine who it is we will serve - fellowship is based on service.  Even if we consider our fellowship with each other, we will find there is a tremendous basis of service to each other which binds us together.  It is more than you scratch my back and I will scratch yours.  It is deep-seated, intimate building up of each other, and exhorting one another into right actions and right motivations.

Fellowship suggests communion - not just "doing" what needs to be done - but deep relationship with each other whereby there is a deep "knowing" of the inner workings of each other.  One day, as Paul was in Athens, he noticed a sign on a statue, alongside many other statues erected to the other "gods" of the lands.  On this statue or altar, he saw these words:  "To an unknown god".  As you may not realize, Athens was known for their great "philosophical" discussions about the "latest ideas" which were emerging in varied fields of study.  There were councils who gathered together - great "thinkers" who pondered this stuff.  One such council was the Areopagus council.  Paul is taken into the council one day, because men hear his teaching and are intrigued by the message that Christ has risen from the grave.  

He begins with:  I found an altar that had these words written on it: ‘ to an unknown god.’ You worship a god that you don’t know. This is the God I want to tell you about. “He is the God who made the whole world and everything in it. He is the Lord of the land and the sky. He does not live in temples built by human hands.  He is the one who gives people life, breath, and everything else they need. He does not need any help from them. He has everything he needs.  God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live. (Acts 17:23-26 ERV) 

He ends with:   “God wanted people to look for him, and perhaps in searching all around for him, they would find him. But he is not far from any of us.  It is through him that we are able to live, to do what we do, and to be who we are. As your own poets have said, ‘We all come from him.’
 “That’s right. We all come from God. So you must not think that he is like something people imagine or make. He is not made of gold, silver, or stone. In the past people did not understand God, and he overlooked this. But now he is telling everyone in the world to change and turn to him. (Acts 17:27-30 ERV)



We can "ponder" this God in the heavens, or we can "know" this God in the depths of our heart, entering into deep relationship with him.  The choice is ours, but the question isn't if we will can understand why we were created, but that he is the Creator.  Just sayin!