An Unexpected God
Christians love God and profess the Bible to be His truth. We study to show ourselves approved, workmen that need not be ashamed of the life we are building around our Lord Jesus. We strive to learn and put into practice the precepts of the scriptures. Through knowledge of His word we believe we worship Him in truth.
Yet, what happens to our faith when the God we know does something unexpected? What happens when the image of God we have in our minds is shattered by something He does which totally goes against what we have been taught? How do we deal with the unnerving realization that what He has obviously done apparently goes against sound doctrine?
Many refuse to even consider this question preferring to say that God would never do anything against His scriptures. Therefore, as their reasoning goes, since they only believe the Bible God will never do anything that against what they believe. Ergo, even if God acts against their doctrine, no matter how genuine it seems to be, it must be of the devil.
The flaw in this reasoning is two fold.
1. They presuppose that their doctrine is correct.
2. They presuppose anything they cannot understand by the scriptures is not of God.
This type of reasoning limits God to the confines of our own understanding, for what we cannot understand we reject. In fact, idolatry is very much alive in the Christian church because each denomination worships a God that is to some extent fashioned through their own earthly reasoning. When the God who fills the Heavens and Earth does not fit in their doctrinal box they reject Him and even, at times, call what He does of the devil.
It is time to grow up and stop being children who tremble in the corner fearing their Father. Our Father is less concerned with what we know than with who we know…namely Him. We need to enter into an experiential relationship with God where we know what is and is not of Him not because we always understand what He says; but because we intimately know Him and trust His voice.
What is God’s voice? Primarily God speaks to individuals through His Holy Spirit. This can take the form of a goading or feeling in your spirit or even words that form in your mind. Sometimes God speaks to you through circumstance or other people. Dreams and visions are another way God makes His will known to us. God can speak to you through His scriptures or through ministers who preach His word. The point is that we must become familiar with all the ways our Father communicates with us. We must learn to know and trust His voice and this can only come about through practice.
We are now entering into an era where all we think we know of God will be challenged, rearranged, and modified not through our understanding but through actual contact with Him. In that day, personal experience with God will shape our doctrine and not the other way around.
The leadership of the Christian church control their congregations through doctrines which they demand their people accept in order to have fellowship with them. The sad fact is that Satan controls much of the leadership of God’s church, and thus it’s members, through spirits of pride, greed, fear, and intimidation. Moreover, even if the leadership knows the truth they often times fear to teach it thinking they will loose respect, position, and their livelihood.
Her are a few examples of an unexpected God.
1. Compare Isaiah 9: 6,7 to Matthew 21:4,5
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
And in Matthew we read:
“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”
Jesus came not as a conquering King as many inferred from the Isaiah scriptures but rather as a bringer of peace meekly riding on the colt of an ass. Thought the scripture always held the truth almost everyone at Christ’s first coming got the interpretation wrong. In fact the religious leaders rejected Him based upon their interpretation of scripture. False doctrine which they clung to out of envy caused them to yell “crucify Him!” and choose that a murder go free instead of their Messiah. I tell you a truth though many will not believe it: the Christian leadership of the church is in virtually the same position in this century and the pharisees were in the first century.
2. In Acts 10:9-16 we read,
“On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.”
Peter saw a vision of every unclean beast and was commanded to rise, kill, and eat. This violated every biblical principle that Peter had been taught from his youth until that point. Yet instead of rejecting what He could not immediately understand Peter considered what the vision meant and was open to go to Joppa with the gentiles men of Cornelius household.
Notice what Peter says in Acts 10:28,
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
Note this fact,
“Peter radically changed his perception of scripture based upon an experience from God.”
Through revelation God was able to teach Peter that salvation was not just for the Jews but also for the gentiles even though established Jewish doctrine said they were not worthy.
3. In 1 Corinthians 7:18-20 Paul said that circumcision was nothing or unimportant.
“Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in circumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcised is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”
Through revelation the very sign of the Abrahamic covenant was no longer necessary. Something that was held to be absolutely mandatory for thousands of years in order to be a Jew was no longer commanded. God brought about this monumental change in established doctrine. We as Christians accept this further revelation without reservation, yet in the first century this was totally unexpected and Earth shaking.
4. In Genesis 9:4 we read,
“But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”
But Jesus said in John 6:53 Jesus says,
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”
Jesus said that His disciples had to eat His flesh and drink His blood else they could not have eternal life. After this hard saying the scriptures state in John 6: 66,
“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
This list goes on and on and in each of these circumstances what God did seemingly contradicted clear and established doctrine held for centuries.
What will you do when the day comes that you can no longer believe because you understand? When you encounter the unexpected God will you still believe or, being offended, no longer follow Him?
The time will come when each of us faces a test of faith which will force us to either accept or reject our savior based only upon the fact that we know His voice and not because we can prove what He says is scriptural.
Our natural minds are enmity with God and we often times offend our Lord when we choose what we understand over who we know. Clearly, I am not appealing to your heads now but rather to your hearts and spirits when I say these things. Let the burning within your spirit bear witness to what I say even thought your thoughts reel within you. Remember, the knowledge of good is just as deadly as the knowledge of evil.
Finally, let us all learn to recognize and accept God for what He truly is and not just what we want Him to be. We must resist the natural minded temptation to make our Father fit an image and likeness we fashion with own minds. Dare to trust Him to lead and guide you into all truth and become flexible enough to consider what our unexpected God reveals as He draws near.