Wednesday, September 8, 2010

men who would control God

Reading through Acts, chapter 23, I am struck with how we, as men, think we can control God.   Paul is standing before the council of chief  priests to find out what crime they are charging him with.  After he states that he has lived true to the law and in good conscience, the high priest directs someone standing next to Paul to strike him.  At this point the entire council seems united in hatred toward Paul and eager to do him harm.  Paul has a brainstorm and brings up a religious controversy that polarizes the council, something like the division of Republicans and Democrats in Congress.  He states that he is being persecuted because he believes in the resurrection of the dead.  It seems that half the council believed fervently in life after death and half believed with equal fervor that there was no life after death.  This took the focus off of Paul as the council priests began to argue with each other.  Then the Roman commander pulled Paul out to safety.  It occurs to me that we, as men, think we can control the nature of God with our opinions.  If we belong to a group that holds a certain view of God, and of life, then we may seek to justify our position by angry debate.  I wonder what it is about our anger and our arguments that causes us to think that we hold the keys to truth in the loudness and force of our speech or the size of the group we belong to.  God isn't defined by our arguments.  We have been defined by Him.  The chief priests found identity and security in their religious persuasions but Paul was all about the work of introducing people, not to a new set of opinions, but to a living God.  We do not own God or control His nature and our lack of understanding shouldn't cause us to become set in our thinking or hardened in our convictions.  Rather, we should become quiet and humble...eagerly listening and seeking that we might truly hear from Him, know Him and follow him.  God is not an opinion.  He is our maker.
Rob Smith

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