April 10, 2012

God Doesn't Need Us

In the search for significance, have you taken count of your good deeds?  How many jewels have you accrued for your Heavenly crown thus far?  Do you think you have merited God’s approval?

How can we help but dart these thoughts through our minds?  After all, we adhere to 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed . . .”  

We study God’s Word.  We seek opportunities to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).  We passionately pursue being not only hearers of the word but doers as well.  And we know rightly that God interprets how much we love Him by our obedience.

The Bible is full of instructions for living, but His detailed orders do not come to us because He depends on us to accomplish His will.  When God calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves, make disciples of all nations, or give our second item of clothing to a brother in need, it is not because we alone possess the resources to meet a need which He Himself cannot cover.

“The God who made the world and everything in it
is the Lord of heaven and earth and
does not live in temples built by human hands.
And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.
Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being . . . ’"
~ Acts 17: 24-28

God needs nothing.  He provides everything. 

Who has laid a gift at God’s feet which was not first distributed out of God’s own pocket?  The wise men who visited the baby Jesus brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Bethlehem and yet these gifts were first deposited in the earth and inside trees by the Creator Himself.  Everything originates in God.   How can you or I bring God something He did not first envision, implant in our minds, and place into our hands? 

We cannot attribute credit to ourselves when spiritual fruit is visible from our labors.  Man is a vehicle God uses to carry out many of His purposes, but a vehicle without a driver and gasoline is no more than an immobile, deteriorating heap of metal.  You and I are disposable.

“He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.” (verse 25 above)

God is all-sufficient.   The service of mans’ hands is not essential in accomplishing the purposes of God.  He could have spoken Noah’s ark into creation instead of moving through Noah’s hands to cut down trees and nail wooden boards together.   In building the ark through manual labor over many years, Noah displayed obedience for all generations to witness.  Noah’s faith became historic.   God blessed Noah by involving Him in His plan to demolish and replenish the Earth.  Noah did not bless God by surviving. 

Our holy God demands everything from us – our surrender, actions, loyalty, priorities, sacrifice, and money.  He exerts ownership over everything He produces but not because He needs it.  God has every resource at His disposal to accomplish His purposes.  Should a tool fail Him at any time, then God would simply invent a new tool.  

Before our good works graduate into a personal sense of accomplishment, let us remember who we are before God.  Elihu exhorts Job in chapter 35 that we are fragments so small that nothing we do advantages or disadvantages God.  He is beyond being influenced by man.   

“Look up at the heavens and see;
   gaze at the clouds so high above you.

If you sin, how does that affect him [God]?
   If your sins are many, what does that do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him,
or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,
   and your righteousness only other people."

~ Job 35:5-8

“If your sins are many, what does that do to him?”  (verse 6 above)

Have you thought of this?  If your sins are many; if you persecute Christians like Paul, or start a world war like Hitler, what damage does that do to the Almighty God?  Does He cease to be God?  Does the flame of His fiery glory lose its spark?  How could the depraved actions of corrupt creatures influence an untouchable, incorruptible God?   It is not possible to hurt or harm God.  When God, in His mercy, extends grace for our salvation, who are we to dispute Him by saying that our sins are too great for His pardon?

“If you are righteous, what do you give to him?”  (verse 7 above)

On the other hand, no man stands better, or more righteous, or more worthy than another before God.  Man’s righteousness cannot bolster God’s reputation.  God’s glory emanates from inside Himself, wholly self-sustained.  No measure of human sacrifice, service, or song can contribute a speck more to the glory of God.  God is so great and so greatly to be praised that He WILL BE praised for all eternity, by men (Romans 14:11), angels (Revelation 5:12), animals (Revelation 5:13), mountains and trees (Isaiah 55:12). 

When He looks upon us, it is because the love brimming from within turns His head toward His needy creation, not because we merit His attention or have so impressed Him that He looks upon us in praise.

“Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.” (verse 8 above)

When you study the Bible, attend church, serve as a deacon, tend to children in the nursery, and tithe faithfully, you benefit yourself and those within your sphere of influence.  You do not contribute anything to God’s grandeur, nor do you put a dent in God’s plan when you sin.  

When  God makes demands of our character, it is for our own good, to conform us into the image of Christ, that we  may one day share in His glory (Romans 8:17).  Christ’s righteousness produced in us also blesses those we influence (Job 35:8).  For this we will be greatly rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:13-14).  God makes demands to inspire us to action, not compel us to comply. 

The salvation of the world does not rest on the shoulders of Christians, but on the shoulders of one man Jesus, who is more than able to seek and save the lost.   His power, purpose and authority are at work and will not be hindered.  Souls won and lost are recorded to His tallysheet.  It is our privilege to be swept up in the wave of His mission as joyful servants oblivious to cares or counts.

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