Sunday, September 27, 2009

gods they could control

Yesterday, I made the rare choice to go to Saturday night church at Grace Baptist with some friends from school. The worship and message by David Hegg were great: it was good to be reminded of God's promises and character, and to see the faith of Abram. However, there was one, almost offhanded, phrase that Pastor Hegg offered in his sermon that really made me see something in a new perspective. When speaking of the Caananites in Abraham's day, he spoke of the "gods they could control."

Gods they could control. The more I thought about that, the more I realized the dangerous problem with almost every (if not all) false religion or philosophy out there. The pagans of the Ancient Near East had gods they could control. They were always pressed to manipulate or please their gods by manner of some ritual or sacrifice. When they did it, the god must inevitably respond in a certain way. They taught that the gods were powerful, but it was actually they who could turn the gods to and fro as they willed.

Kind of shoots down the health and wealth gospel, doesn't it? Send in a one-time gift and God will bless you ten-fold! How controlling and manipulative of God is that? It is just like man to fashion a god of his own making that he could control. In fact, it makes perfect sense why many beliefs have moved away from the God of scripture and towards faith in a being that we can have some control over. Sacrifice to make him do this, pray this prayer and he will do that, yadda yadda yadda.

And the more you think about it, the more it should really make you glad that God doesn't answer all of our prayers just as we pray them. Should we actually want God to submit Himself to any and every specific prayer that we pray "in faith?" He is so much bigger and better than that. The God of the bible has no need to subject Himself to our prayers or sacrifices. It goes against all of human nature to invent a God that humbles and works above human thinking like no other, yet that is what scripture presents us with. I see no reason why He can't be real, because no one would have wanted to create a God of infinite mystery, wisdom, and power that we could have no controlling effect over.

Praise God that He doesn't submit Himself in any ways to His creation unless He is working out a plan all of His own.

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