I was visiting with someone recently and they told me that they didn’t believe in the same God I did. Yes, their god created the world, but he was seen and felt in his creation. He was appreciated (worshiped) through people’s appreciation of nature and enjoying his creation. Their god was not limited to “church buildings” or by “things written in a book”. They did not believe in “organized religion”, but rather that everyone needed to find God and make peace with him in their own way.
I didn’t say much, but when my wife tried to express a point about our belief, they said, “I already know all about what you believe and I don’t want to hear it.” That pretty much ended the conversation.
I’ve thought a lot about that conversation in the past couple of weeks. This person is not a bad or evil person, but they definitely do have different values than I do. An old illustration/story keeps coming to mind whenever I think of this conversation. The story takes place about 3,000 years ago in the country of Canaan.
“Ishmael and Sarah were married and had a newborn baby boy. Ishmael was a good man, a hard worker, providing a decent life for his family. Ishmael however worships the god, “Molec” who was a terrible and demanding god. At times the priests of Molec told the people that to insure a good harvest; their god demanded the sacrifice of children, which were to be thrown into the fire build before the statue of their god. On the appointed day of sacrifice Ishmael gathered up his newborn son and went to the temple of Molec. Sarah cried, begged and pleaded with Ishmael not to sacrifice their son. Determined however, Ishmael stalked to the edge of the fire pit with Sarah clinging to his legs trying to hold him back and threw their son into the fire.
Ishmael shakes off Sarah and leaves her sobbing at the foot of the idol as he goes to fornicate with the temple prostitutes to give more assurance to the blessing of the harvest by this terrible god. As Sarah lies there sobbing, she looks at the back of her husband walking away from her and says, ‘if he had a different god, he would be a different man”.
Does it make a difference what god you serve? Yes it does! This is not a new question or a new problem. Notice what the apostle Paul points out in Romans 1:20-28, “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes. So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done.”(NLT)
This is basically the same conversation we had with the one that wanted to worship God in nature. As Paul points out, this is not what God intended. He also points out that once someone abandons serving God the way he intended, then they just as easily abandon his directions for morals and ethics.
Does which God you worship make a difference? Paul the Apostle said that it does! Notice what he wrote to those wanting to follow God in the city of Ephesus: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”( Ephesians 4:4-6, KJV)
OK, what’s the point of all of this? I believe that there are a lot of people in the world who are good, even wonderful people. People who are doing what they believe is right in trying to serve a “higher power”. I also believe very strongly, that just because you believe something is right, doesn’t make it so. The Apostle John wrote these words from God in Revelation 20:12: “I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to the things written in the books, according to what they had done.”
So, does it make a difference which God you worship? I truly believe it does! What is your god? What do you serve, what do you worship? Could it be said of you, “If they had served a different God, they would have been a better person?” There is “only one Lord, one faith, one God and Father of all”. I believe that, because the Bible tells me so!
Check out the new “Greek word study blog” at http://bumchecks.com/biblecommentary/ today!