Loving God for Himself Alone
This week I preached on the bigness of God from Isaiah 40:12-26. That because he is so big we can trust him with our lives. Now all of us that claim faith in Christ can on the surface agree to this and let it warm us on a Sunday morning, but how does it help us on a Monday afternoon?
Normal pressures of life punctuate the worship gathering and we swim back into the soup of the clamor of smaller things demanding to reign in our lives. We believe God is big enough to care for us, but how will the bills get paid? We believe God holds all of creation in his hand, but what if our adult children never speak to us again? We believe nations are emptiness before God, but what about the burden of our tax liability?
The list could go on, and sure it would be specific to you, external demands, responsibilities, emotions and the overall sense of exile without end weigh us down. Can we really turn to Jesus with all of this?
It is far too easy to turn faith into a transactional relationship. I believe in God so he gives me a job, or I pray hard and long enough and I will finally be delivered...etc. But is believing in and following Jesus worthwhile if none of the externals are dealt with? Do we love God for himself alone?
The thinking brings to mind one of the most popular of Bible stories. The fiery furnace. Disobedient to the cultural demands of worship at the golden image which would make their own faith in God private, the three Jewish young men are brought before the king.
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16–18 (ESV)
They profess how big God is - big enough to deliver them out of the fire - but what's more, they profess that even if he doesn't they won't bow to the fake gods. Even in the breakthrough doesn't come, even if I remain in the valley, if I live and die in exile, I will still only worship God.
It is bold faith.
Yes, God delivers them. They are freed from the furnace and in many of our own "furnaces" God works to free us. But friends he is worth worshiping because of who he is. We don't need the addition of circumstance or the change thereof.
Come what may, we will worship. Let's say that. Let's live that. Let's rejoice when we come out the other side. Let's look up and behold our God and gain an eager vision for eternity with him - the promise he is big enough to deliver. Let's love God for himself alone.