THE PROMISES OF GOD
2 CORINTHIANS 1:20
“YOU WILL KNOW GOD”
Are you ready to make our declaration? You should know it by memory by now! Those at home, join in & say it with us……
WE ARE BUILDING OUR LIVES ON THE PROMISES OF GOD
BECAUSE HIS WORD IS UNBREAKABLE OUR HOPE IS UNSHAKABLE
WE DO NOT STAND ON THE PROBLEMS OF LIFE OR THE PAIN IN LIFE
WE STAND ON THE GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES OF GOD
-UNSHAKABLE HOPE BY MAX LUCADO
An anxious Moses pleads w/God for help. No one could blame Moses for crying out to the Lord for help.
On the one hand, Moses had to lead the Israelites and they were a stubborn, ungrateful bunch. While he was up on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the Israelites were dancing around a golden calf. Their memories of God were as stale as yesterday’s manna. Leading these obstinate, wayward people was going to be a big challenge.
On the other hand, battlefields lie ahead. Moses & the nation of Israel would have to do combat with their enemies: the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, the Termites and the Cellulites. Could Moses mold an army out of a bunch of pyramid building Hebrews?
Faced with challenges & problems, Moses would make a special request of the Lord. Moses had a very special relationship with the Lord. The Bible says that the Lord would speak to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend. God told Moses that he was pleased with him and that he would do the very thing Moses had asked.
What Moses asked for was far different than what you might imagine. He didn’t ask for wisdom in dealing with the Israelites. He didn’t ask God to turn the Israelites into a mighty army to defeat their enemies. Instead, Moses asked God, “Now show me your glory.” What Moses needed most in that moment was to see the greatness of God. That would reassure Moses and calm his fears.
And God honored his request. He would end up giving Moses a glimpse of his glory. God told Moses- “When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
God did that to protect Moses because as he had told Moses, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” So Moses was given a glimpse of God’s glory as it faded away. A glimpse was enough for Moses. He would lead the Israelites.
Like Moses, you have some challenges you are facing and you have some enemies who are staring you down. Before you come up with a strategy to overcome your challenges and a battle plan to defeat your enemies, you first need to do what Moses did. You need to gaze upon the glory of God!
The good news is that you can. You can know God, which is the promise of God that we will look at today. READ HEBREWS 8:10-12
Here the Hebrew writer is in the midst of writing about the New Covenant that God has made with us through the death of Jesus. And one promise and blessing of the New Covenant is that we can know God!
Knowing God should be the greatest desire & highest pursuit of our lives. Paul wrote- “I want to know Christ.” Don’t you want to know God personally, intimately, just as Moses did, friend to friend?
God wants to be seen by us and known to us. He has revealed Himself to us, in three ways. One is through creation. We’ll look at that in a moment.
The second way that God reveals Himself to us is through His written word. The Bible reveals the heart and the mind of God to us.
But, ultimately, God has revealed Himself to us through the Living Word, Jesus Christ. Jesus told Philip- “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Hebrews 1:3 says this about Jesus:
“The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like.”- Hebrews 1:3
One of my professors in Bible College, Professor Robert Hargrave said, “Everything God is, Jesus was while he was here on earth.”
Yes, we can know God. He has made Himself known to us. This morning, let’s pull back the curtain a little and, like Moses, get a glimpse of God’s glory. Let’s get to know God better. Then we’ll finish up by looking at what it means to us to know God.
Let’s begin here. When we’re talking about the glory of God, we start with this fact…..
If you want to experience Gods’ glory, simply step outdoors. Psalm 19:1 says:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1
Creation is God’s missionary, proclaiming both God’s existence and His majesty!
The beauty of creation reveals God’s glory. From a rainbow in the mist; to the breath-taking view of the Grand Canyon; to the cascading beauty of Niagara Falls; to the brilliance of a clear starry night; to the glow of a gorgeous sunset out over the horizon of the ocean; all of creation is God’s canvas and what a magnificent portrait the Divine Artist has painted for us to behold.
Likewise, the vastness of creation demonstrates God’s glory. Planet Earth’s cosmic address in the universe is the Milky Way Galaxy. In our galaxy alone, there are an estimated 400 billion stars. Besides the Milky Way, there are an estimated 100 billion other galaxies in the universe, and some are now saying that estimate is too low.
The next closest galaxy to us is called Andromeda. Do you know how long it would take you to travel to the Andromeda Galaxy? It would take you 2.5 million years if you could travel at the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second. 2.5 million years to reach the Andromeda Galaxy and it’s on our cosmic doorstep!
Likewise, the laws that govern the universe tell us that there has to be a Creator watching over it. There is a precise, perfect balance in nature that keeps the Earth from spinning out of control and the stars from falling out of the sky. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus holds all of creation together. Under God’s watchful care, the universe runs more precisely than a Rolex watch.
Doesn’t the beauty & the vastness of creation and the laws of nature demand that there is a Creator behind creation? Of course it does. That’s what the apostle Paul wrote:
“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 people are without excuse.” -Romans 1:19-20
Just as a watch is proof of a watchmaker, so creation is proof of Creator God. The stars in the sky are evidence that there is a star maker. A creation that is so beautiful, so vast and so precisely governed by physical laws is not random. Creation gives witness to the existence of God!
So, if you want to take in God’s glory, I have a suggestion for you. Go outside on a clear, starry night and look up into the sky. Look up into the heavens and talk with your Creator. It will be a powerful reminder to you that you are not alone; that God is with you, because God Is and……
God’s greatness was the very first characteristic of God that I learned as my mother taught to say grace at the dinner table-“God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.”
God is indeed great. There is no one who can be compared to God. Isaiah wrote:
“To whom can you compare God?” -Isaiah 40:18
God has no rival. No one comes close. God is in a league of his own and a class by himself. He is the One true God. That’s what Paul told the people in Athens as he saw all their objects of worship, altars erected to many false gods. Paul also saw an altar with the inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Paul took the opportunity to tell them about the God of heaven who made the world and everything in it. Paul told them that the God of heaven is the Lord of heaven and earth. Then he told them how great God is by telling them this:
“He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” -Acts 17:25
We have needs but God does not. We need oxygen, God does not. We need food and water. God requires neither. He is self-sustaining.
Another tribute to the greatness of God is that he is ageless. Psalm 90:2 declares about the Lord:
“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” -Psalm 90:2
God is from everlasting to everlasting. He is eternal. He is without beginning and has no end. God always has been and always will be. Job illustrated God’s greatness by proclaiming his agelessness:
“How great is God, beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.” – Job 36:26
How old would you say God is? A million years old? A billion? It’s impossible because God existed before there was time. In fact, he created time and holds the patent on it. But the sheer inability to calculate the number of God’s years is a testimony to his greatness!
As we look a little further into the greatness of God, let’s look at this characteristic of God……
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah wrote of the vision he had of the Lord, high & exalted, seated on a throne and the train of his robe filling the temple. Above the Lord were winged creatures called seraphim, who called out in praise-“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Holy, holy, holy. Repetition in the Hebrew language performs the work of our highlighter. Repetition is a tool used for emphasis.
No other attribute of God receives such reinforcement. There is no verse that says God is wise, wise, wise. Nor is there one that declares that God is strong, strong, strong.
No, only God’s holiness is highlighted by repetition. His holiness is headline news. And the ones in Isaiah 6 who saw God most clearly regarded him most highly.
We need to have the deepest regard for the holiness of God. We need to esteem him highly and respect him with all reverence. Because God is holy.
Because God is holy, this means that he’s never messed up. Every decision that God has made has been 100% right. Every action has been pure and faultless. The only questions God asks are rhetorical ones. No one advises the Lord.
He is holy. He is perfection. James wrote of God:
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” -James 1:13
God has never sinned. He is incapable of it. He is above being tempted by evil. He is holy. He is holy. He is holy!
There are more characteristics of God that display his glory. But of all his characteristics, I think this is the one we most need to hear:
John said it plainly but oh so profoundly:
“God is love.” -1 John 4:8
I think we can see God’s glory in his love for us. That’s because his love is a great love. God’s love is a perfect love that would move God to give his one and only Son for us. A great and sinless God loves sinners like you and me. How grand and glorious is that?
It was the great and glorious love of God that led the apostle Paul to pen these words:
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
Because God loves you, he is for you! The one who formed you is pulling for you. He is on your side and by your side. God is out in front leading you and he’s got your back; he’s protecting you, guarding you, watching over you day and night.
I hope that I’ve been able to illustrate the glory of God for you this morning. Now, let’s make application. What does it mean for you to see God’s glory and to know God?
After Moses witnessed the glory of God and came down from the mountain, his face was so radiant that the Israelites were afraid to come near him. He had to put a veil over his face.
To seek the face of the Lord is to change the face of the one who seeks it. To know the heart of God is to change the heart of the one who knows it.
So how has knowing God changed you? Are you becoming more loving, more kind, more patient, more forgiving? Are you being filled with joy even when your life is filled with heartache?
May I suggest one other change that will take place as we come to know God better as we experience his glory? We will be humbled. The winged creatures in Isaiah 6 covered their faces in humility before the Lord.
I don’t think you can look out over the Grand Canyon and say to yourself, “I’m really something. I’m the center of the universe. Life definitely revolves around me.”
No, as we witness the greatness of God, it humbles us. Knowing God also means….
Knowing God won’t mean that all of your problems go away. But knowing God will put them into perspective. Moses still had to deal with the Israelites and he still had to confront the enemies on the battlefield. But he was able to do so with confidence because he had gazed upon the glory of God.
Witnessing the glory of God gives us an unshakable hope because we serve an unchanging God. As we dwell on the glory of God; as we get lost in his radiance and bask in his beauty; in that moment we gain perspective. In that moment, our challenges and our problems won’t seem as overwhelming. In that moment, every challenge, every struggle, every problem we’re facing is going to melt like ice on a July sidewalk.
Ultimately, knowing God means……
The promise of the New Covenant is that for those who know God, God will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. How glorious is that? Every sin forgiven. Every sin forgotten, erased from God’s memory forever.
You can know God. The promise of the Bible is that God will be known by all who will seek him. Will you be one who does? Will you seek him and know him through faith in Jesus Christ?