I have known people who have taken a passage of scripture and used it as an excuse not to pray. Seriously, I do not lie. Sadly, the very word of God used against Him. But hasn’t that been the tactic of the enemy since he misspoke God’s words in Eden? If we’re honest, we can all admit at one time we were guilty of this very crime. My hand is raised. Here again we see where ignorance is a major culprit to our knowing and hearing God. Ignorance to what the Word says in its entirety. One verse theology can and will destroy a believer.
Isaiah 55:8-9 is a passage known and believed by most in the church. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Let me rephrase it to express the ignorance of our human frailties: “God is so far above poor little me that I can never know Him. Therefore, why bother?”
God is both majestically incomprehensible and intimately knowable at the same time. Yes, there are many scriptures that tell us that He is beyond our understanding but to match each of them, there are an equal number of scriptures that tell us how He reveals Himself to those who truly seek Him.
In Psalms 103:7 David declares, “He made known His ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” David then sings a passionate song of the attributes of God. It is possible to intimately know God. While we will never fully know all there is to know of His greatness, we can be daily astounded by new revelation upon revelation. Moses was!
What made Moses so different? Besides the fact that he was God’s chosen vessel for his time, Moses was just a frail man. He made mistakes. He had moods. He experienced days full of frustrations and dreads. He wanted to quit several times. He was a lot like you and me. So why did he get to know God’s ways?
I have discovered two possibilities. One, he met with his God everyday in the Tent of Meeting. Simply put, he prayed. Two, he was willing to go the distance. Exodus 20:18-21: When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’ The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Where are you today? Are you living at a distance expecting your spouse, pastor, or praying friend to speak to God for you? This is the majority of the church today. Most church members submit endless prayer requests but never show up for a prayer meeting. Are you regularly asking for others to pray for you while you do nothing? It’s easier not to pray. It’s easier to whine and complain about our lives and needs than it is to pray. I recently spoke to a man whose entire family is deep in sin: children bound by depression and alcoholism while his grandchildren are in sexual immorality and drugs with souls lost to Satan. He regularly says, please pray for them while he only mouths weak nominal attempts at prayer. How do I know I’m right? Because it has been years. His family continues deeper into the pit while he and his lifestyle which is similar in sin has never changed. There is the key. When we are on the mountain-top with God in prayer we will be changed. A praying believer is a transformed believer every time they encounter God.
To know God, we have to go the distance. We have to shatter every comfort zone. Quench all fear. Die totally to all self-desire. Repent of all sin. Take a huge step into the unknown. It takes perseverance and strength matched with strong drive and deep hunger to truly pray. Prayer is not for the weak at heart. The weak always give up before ever hearing from God.
I can’t think of a better prayer to offer each day of 2011 than to ask God, “Where are You?” Then like Moses, take the first step to approach the thick darkness where God is. It’s okay to be afraid. You know Moses was trembling in his sandals. But ask and then go. There is where you will hear the voice of God.