Who am I? That’s an important question!
Who are you? How are we to relate? Those are important things too.
What about God? What is He like? How do I relate to Him? Those things are most important of all.
I. God Is Counsellor. I Am Not His Counsellor (v. 34).
A. Who among us knows forever?
B. Do we understand how the world has been put together, in all of its wonderful complexity and detail, with its phenomenal function?
C. What about the seasons and cycles, systems and energies and atmospheres?
D. How well does anyone understand our amazing bodies and our amazing minds?
Scientists now calculate that if the electronic energy in the hydrogen atoms of our body could be utilized, you could supply all of the electrical needs of a large, highly industrialized country for nearly a week. A DuPont scientist said that the atoms of your body contain a potential energy of more than eleven million kilowatt hours per pound of body weight. By this estimate the average person is worth about eighty-five million dollars. Isn’t it remarkable that some folks think that all of this just happened? It came from nothing! There was no purpose, and it has no purpose. This created place, these created things, these created persons are so intricate, so promising. What do you suppose the One behind all this is like?
E. Does any one of us know all of history, everywhere, and the motivations behind the apparent issues of history? Do we know and understand all of the events that are played off the stage?
F. Even now, can any one of us see everything that is going on? Do we know what lies behind the appearances. Do we know what is in the heart of the players? The Christian will be slow to play “authority.” We will run from any inclination to give advice to God. We will be anxious to listen to God, to hear His directions, and to adjust to His Spirit.
II. God Is the Giver. I Am Not (v. 35).
A. What can I give that isn’t His?
B. By His design, with the awesome privilege of a free will, I can give “me.” That’s all I can give. I can give my respect, my allegiance, my active agreement. He treasures that gift.
C. Then, in His gladness, when I have given that gift, He invests me with eternal life. But that is not any kind of repayment. It’s another gift.
Who am I?
Who are you?
What about God? Who is He? What does He want?
We don’t do very well when we answer the “Who am I?” and “Who are you?” questions. There is a bit of a god-complex that rears its head in our minds. It goes something like this: “Because of who I am, I must be ‘it.’ The rest of you are auxiliary. You are support troops for me. I know. You just think you know. You can’t be that important, or you would be who I am.” In the comic strips, “Calvin” and “Cathy” play out our absurd self-focus with a similar conversation.
It is important that we be reminded about our own significance. And it is important that we be reminded of the proper relationship that we have with each other. But, first, we must be sure that we understand who God is and what our proper relationship is with Him.
I. God Is the Wise Judge. I Am Not (v. 33).
A. That He would want us is beyond understanding.
B. And He has been so patient with our rebellion.
C. He has made a way to be just, and to justify; through Jesus Christ.
II. God Is the One from Whom, Through Whom, and to Whom Are All Things. That Does Not Describe Me. Does that describe you? (v. 36).
A. He brought the world about. He set it to spinning. He balanced the cycles to support its life. He peopled it with men and women of splendid potential, made “in His image.”
B. He still touches His world. He reaches in to answer prayer.
C. And one day the world will come to a halt. The price for my sin, and for yours, will be paid. It will either be extracted from me, or it will be accepted from Christ, who has created a trust account to pay the believer’s charge. Everything comes from Him, lives by Him, and ends up before Him.
III. God Is the One Who Deserves the Glory, Forever.
A. We give Him the glory by the way we use His things. And, by the way, the world works very well when we use it His way.
B. We give Him the glory by our thanks-saying, our personal worship (real, intimate) and our out-loud public expressions.
What do you suppose God thinks of some of our “reasons” for electing not to gather with believers for worship and edification on the first day of the week? “Sunday is the only day I have to sleep in! It’s our only family day! It’s the only day left for our league. All the others are taken.” What about God? Who gives us our sleep and our energies? To him be the glory forever; and some of that includes our public expressions of honor. Do you suppose that we will be able to ignore God in heaven—read our newspapers, take our naps, play our games, relate to each other without relating to Him?
I don’t know what a contemporary equivalent would be, but I think that there is a picture in the fourth chapter of Revelation that we can understand, even though kings and thrones are not common in our twenty-first century world. There is a throne in heaven, with someone sitting on it. A rainbow encircles it. Twenty-four little thrones are around it, for the elders, God’s people. And four creatures sit around in another circle. God is in the center. Be still! Listen! For those who live, God is in the center of the world. Recognize and honor Him there, by your walk, your words, and your worship.