To the One Who Seeks

“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell, when once asked what he would say if he found himself standing before God on the judgment day and God asked him, “Why didn’t you believe in Me?” replied, “I would say, ‘Not enough evidence, God!  Not enough evidence!'”[1]

I recently completed a seminary course in Christian Apologetics – which is not “apologizing for being a Christian” – but rather the defense of the Christian faith. It was a very difficult course because I had to read and listen to messages that rejected the truth of God and of Jesus Christ. Their words in no way diminished my beliefs; if anything they strengthened my faith because I was forced to address these statements of disbelief and find reasonable and true answers I could embrace. As I confronted these counter-claims, the truths of the Bible and of the doctrines of Christianity began to take a firmer root in my heart. And as I found more and more evidences and reasons to believe with confidence, I began to “own” my faith like never before. I no longer believe just because of what I’ve heard all my life. I believe because, in seeking out the truth, I found it.

We so often hear the complaint that Christianity is just “blind faith,” and many simply refuse to believe without “proof.” Even in the church we are taught that we must never ask questions of God. But that is not what the Bible indicates. God invites us to step into faith with our eyes wide open. He issued the invitation many, many years ago, when the Israelites had fled Egypt – “If . . . you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him, if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). God does not require mindless devotion to an unseen, unproven entity. He has gone to great lengths to make Himself known.

On the night of Jesus’ birth, God announced the way for those who would accept it and seek this blessed Child. Luke’s account includes the chorus of heavenly hosts who appeared to the shepherds in the fields – and they told them exactly where to find this Baby – “in the town of David” (Luke 2:11) and how they would recognize Him – “wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (v. 12). I love the angels’ words in our key verse – You will find a baby . . .” (emphasis added). And they responded to God’s revelation – “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see . . .” (v. 15). Let’s follow the evidence that God has given to us. Let’s seek Him whom the angel said we would find.

Matthew records another visible and powerful proof of Jesus’ birth as the Magi from the East declared “We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2), and he continues: “The star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was” (v. 9). God not only gave directions, He led the way with a star in the sky. They were overjoyed – they sought the King with a desire to find Him, and their search was rewarded.

There is another path that God has clearly provided for man to find his Creator. That path leads up a hill in Jerusalem, to Calvary and to the Cross. God made this way clear and unmistakable when He covered that path with the blood of His one and only Son, Jesus. He has declared that this is the way to find Him – the only way. To all who will accept it, God has promised not only to reveal Himself but to claim the seeking soul as His own.

We all have questions, whether we want to admit it or not, and God does not resist our questions; but He does resist our motivations for asking them. He has provided the evidence and the way that we might find and know Him, but Mr. Russell and others like him demand proof on their own terms. God is not obligated to meet man’s demands for proof. He expects us to seek Him by following the way He has provided. He is not playing some cosmic “hide-and-seek game” with us. You see, the difference between Bertrand Russell and those who have chosen to believe is that Mr. Russell posed his questions with an arrogant and unbelieving heart trying to disprove God; for those who receive Christ, their questions flow from seeking hearts that want to find Him. God receives those who seek Him with a heart to believe. Remember what He said – “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

Holy God, on this Christmas Eve, I am so grateful that You showed me the way to the manger and the cross and You let me find You. “He has said to my heart, ‘Seek My face!’ Your face Lord, I will seek” (Psalm 27:8).

[1] William Lane Craig, “The Evidence for Christianity” be thinking, http://www.bethinking.org/is-christianity-true/the-evidence-for-christianity (accessed December 24, 2014).

Just Tell Me What I Want to Hear

“You have wearied the Lord with Your words . . . by saying, ‘All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and He is pleased with them.’” Malachi 2:17

You just don’t want to hear the truth!” my friend told her teenage son. A long summer of rebellion had begun when he started hanging out with someone that had a very negative influence on him. Yet he believed this person was the ultimate, his soul mate and he was unwilling to hear anything to the contrary. Our culture has become very much the same. We are as the nation of Judah in the Old Testament, who told God’s prophets “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10). Paul saw the same thing when he warned Timothy, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Can anyone doubt that “the time has come” (emphasis mine)? Our world today does not want to be told “this is wrong,” or “this is right;” “this is false,” or “this is true.”

There is a very interesting story in 1 Kings 22:1-28; the evil king of Israel, Ahab, and the godly king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, were preparing to join together in battle against Israel’s enemy. Jehoshaphat asked that they seek God’s wisdom on the matter before they set out. Four hundred ungodly prophets agreed that victory was guaranteed, but the godly king wanted a godly perspective, and so the prophet Micaiah was called up. He was advised to agree with the 400, but vowed to only speak what the Lord directed. At first, he sarcastically joined their proclamation, but when he indeed spoke the truth against Israel, and prophesied death for the king, Ahab was furious.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. Micaiah said that the Lord planned to entice the evil and godless king Ahab into war and to his death by “a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets” (1 Kings 22:22). Now, before you get worked up over God’s actions against Ahab, remember that Ahab had turned against God and followed his wife Jezebel to worship her pagan gods. Isaiah 21: 25 says “Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him.” Ahab chose the evil ways of his wife, and now he must face the consequences.

Without question, we are living in a godless society. Our culture has no place or desire for God, but shouts at His prophets today “Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One.” (1saiah 30:11; emphasis mine). Rather, the world has exalted those who tell them “what their itching ears want to hear.” They endorse sin and every behavior that God’s word has called an abomination. As our key verse says, they approve of – and even celebrate – what is evil; and worse yet, claim that God has put His stamp of approval on it. They are putting godless words in the mouth of the Holy God. Jeremiah confronted it in his day saying, “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land; The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way” (Jeremiah 5:31; emphasis mine). The world today is looking for someone who will tell them what they want to hear. Unfortunately they only want to hear lies. “Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it” (Jeremiah 6:10).

Here’s the most shocking part of all of this: it’s not just happening “out there” – in the world. It’s happening in the churches, among people who have identified themselves as Christians. All of these verses were written to and about the nation of Israel who considered themselves to be God’s chosen people. They had decided that they could blend in other “gods” with the One True God; to continue to call on God for His provision and protection, while giving themselves over to idolatry and sensuous pagan worship. You know, make an offering to appease the Lord on the Sabbath and head to the pagan temple to “worship” with the temple prostitutes. God’s cool with that, right? Wrong.

God alone is the Lord. He is not be one god among many, not even the highest God among the lesser gods. He alone is God. Jesus is the one and only way to God the Father; not one way among many, or even the best way. He alone is the Son of God and the salvation of all mankind. He alone is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” (John 14:6). God’s Word is the truth, not a good book of humanitarian wisdom among many books, not even the best among the rest. It is truth. And God’s truth is not subject to amendment by man. What God had declared to be right is still right and what he has declared to as sin is still sin, no matter what the culture decides.

My friend, I beg you, do not allow yourself to be deceived by the world, who has been deceived by Satan. Know God for who He has declared Himself to be. Know the salvation of the Lord, which comes only through His Son, Jesus Christ. Know the truth, His Holy Word. Don’t allow yourself to be lead into the darkness, but stay in the light of Christ. There is a way that is right and true, that leads to eternal life. Jesus is that Way. No other path will get you home.

Holy Father, my heart is so heavy for all those who have been lead away from You by the lies of the world and the enemy.  God, please make us people who know the truth that sets us free.  Please make us beacons of light in this dark world so that others may find their way to Jesus. Amen