Is God Hard to Find?
October 11th, 2009
One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 3:4. It says:
For every house is built by someone, but God is the Builder of everything.
In the Nicene Creed, we confess:
"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible."
Every time we say the Nicene Creed, we acknowledge God as the Creator of all that we can see. He also created all that we cannot see — the invisible, angelic world.
When I took confirmation classes at a Lutheran School many years ago in Kansas, I remember the impact that this Scripture in the Book of Hebrews had on me.
This verse was one of the required memory verses. I remember it best in the King James Version that renders it as:
"Every house is builded by some man, but He that built all things is God."
Today, I must add, that while the house may have been built by some man, a woman architect may have designed it! (My wife is an architect!)
From a youth, I have always been awed by the wonders of God's Creation! The Lutheran catechism mentions 3 ways we can know there is a God:
I've entitled this message "Is God Hard to Find?" Why? In one real sense of the word, for as long as I can remember, God has always been easy for me to find. As I look at His marvelous creation, I can't help but see and sense His almighty power.
The universe is very, very large. The largest telescope man has invented still hasn't found the borders of the universe! Billions of galaxies exist each with billions of stars!. God made them all. Scripture even goes so far as to tell us that He has named each and every one of them! (Psalm 147:4) This, by the way, tells us that the universe is finite, it has bounds and limits.
On vacations, I like to visit museums. When I go to Corpus Christi I like to visit the aquarium there. There is also a very nice one in Monterey Bay in California. They are both filled with many examples of different kinds of sea life. The variety of life in the sea is overwhelming and often overlooked by us land dwellers!
Yet, as I visit these museums, aquariums, etc., I rarely if ever find any reference to God or any credit given to Him for His magnificent creation of life in its various forms. God, it seems, has been sanitized out of His Creation!
In His place, the magical power of Evolution is presented as the creative power that has somehow brought about all the forms of life on the Earth. Think about it! Do you have enough faith to believe that all you can see somehow just "happened" without the power of an almighty God? I simply do NOT have that much faith! I can't believe that what all my senses can detect could have come into existence by physical forces.
St. Paul tells us in Romans 1:19-20:
What may be known about God is PLAIN to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the Creation of the world God's invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Yet, the Bible itself tells us what Paul Harvey use to call "the rest of the story." The Bible acknowledges in Isaiah 45:15:
"Truly you are a God who hides Himself, O God and Savior of Israel."
Let's get back to my message title:
Is God Hard to Find?
There are times in everyone's life when it seems that God is nowhere to be found. There is an old expression:
"Out of sight, out of mind."
In order to understand the context of this verse from the Book of Isaiah, we need to go back to the Garden of Eden where the original man and woman first lived. God did not hide Himself at their creation. After creating Adam and then Eve, God walked with them and talked with them in the Garden.
Then, one day, all things changed. Sin entered the world. Adam and Eve did the one thing that God had commanded them not to do! And when they did we find that they hide themselves from God. When they realized they had disobeyed God, they hid from God.
Adam and Eve had some things to learn. They had to learn that listening to the serpent – who typified Satan the devil – wasn't the way to go. Listening to one's own human reasoning in place of God's wisdom doesn't work either.
So, now people who call themselves highly educated proudly tell us that no God is needed to explain the Creation. They proudly announce that it all come about through natural forces working over billions of years. Since God can't normally be seen, such rationalization can seemingly make Him go away.
The Bible tells us that the time is coming when God will once again make Himself visibly known to all the nations. We don't know when Jesus will return, but when He does, no one is any longer going to have any doubt of His existence!
So, is God hard to find?
Not really. Humans are without excuses who say: "There is no God." God says anyone who says that is a "fool" (Psalm 14:1). A fool in biblical language means one who is morally deficient. They have shut out the knowledge of God because their deeds are evil.
Vast evidences of God's existence are all around us. Mankind with all his technology and abilities and money and pride has not succeeded in creating even a lowly earthworm! In contrast, God has filled the Earth with all kinds of life. He has filled the universe with all kinds of stars and marvelous objects astronomers are just beginning to study and try to understand.
But, the greatest of all His Creation is identified by reading the context of the verse I first read in Hebrews 3:4. Let me read it again, but this time in its broader context:
"For every house is built by someone, but God is the Builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. AND WE ARE HIS HOUSE, IF WE HOLD ON TO OUR COURAGE AND THE HOPE OF WHICH WE BOAST."
The Book of Hebrews was written to Jews who had accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. But, beyond this acceptance of Christ as the Messiah, they had changed little from what they had been under the Old Covenant. They had continued in the traditions given by God to the Old Testament Church. They continued in all the rituals of the Temple and the Levitical Priesthood. As time went by, it became evident to the apostles that these Christians were not growing in their faith. They were stuck in their traditions.
Traditions are not necessarily wrong. Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther understood that basic truth and continued many of the rich traditions of the early Church so long as they did not contradict the Bible. But, when traditions come between the believer and God and stifle the spiritual growth of the believer, they are no longer a benefit.
The letter to the Hebrews was actually a warning that those Old Testament traditions were soon to pass away. And, they did. Roman armies came and burned the Temple site and knocked down the stones and no longer allowed the Jews to continue in the old worship traditions.
The Jews – both Christian Jews and non-Christian Jews – were devastated. They had been warned. They needed to get their minds off "things" and on Jesus Christ.
God wants nothing to come between us and Him. He allows us great freedom in our worship of Him. But, He will always do what He thinks is best to keep our minds on Him.
We can rejoice in knowing that the great God who made all things, who has such great power, who has such great abilities to make beautiful flowers, beautiful sunsets, wonderful foods, majestic mountains and all the rest of Creation, is also a God who is very personally concerned about us!
God is not an abstract Idea or a Wonderful Thought. God is the great Being who is full of love and concern and desires above all things to have us know Him as our Heavenly Father. He is a God who cares. A God who literally did not spare His own Son, but offered Him up in our place, so that our sins may be forgiven.
There is the story of the small girl in a remote part of South Texas who was receiving her first Bible instruction at the hands of her grandmother. The grandmother was reading the story of Creation from the first chapter of Genesis to her. After the chapter was read, the little girl seemed lost in thought.
"Well, dear," said the grandmother, "what did you think of it?"
"Oh, I love it. It's so exciting," said the granddaughter, "you never know what God is going to do next."
But, now we know what God did DO next! He finished His physical creation and is now about His spiritual Creation. He is building a spiritual household of believers. And, we who are Christians are in that household!
So, God encourages us, in the words written in the Book of Hebrews:
"[To] hold on to [your] courage and the hope of which [you] boast."
Have the excitement of that little girl as you come to see that YOU are of part of God's most recent – and eternally speaking – the most important creation. Because of Christ's love for you as shown by His death on the cross, and through the waters of Holy Baptism, He has put YOU into His household of faith. And, there He will nourish you and help you grow into a child of His, as you eagerly await what He will do next!
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