What do you do about a world increasingly getting into chaos? For example, you have climate and other scientists disagreeing violently with each other over the place of carbon dioxide in so-called global warming. That may be understandable but the decisions of the leaders of many nations as they act on some of the so-called scientific opinions is not so understandable and may prove to be counter-productive to the welfare of their people. In the USA you have a duly elected President who is being ridiculed and mocked by some actors, by some “neutral” TV presenters and by some so-called comedians (who are not humorous but humongous in their crudity.) The American people made a choice but there are some folk who will not accept the result of the elections and are advocating mayhem and violence in a bid to remove the President and anyone associated with him. In other countries you have dictators being elected because they insist they are working for the good of the people when their past actions lend no substance to their claims.
But there is hope. We were reminded of this as we just witnessed the release of 12 young football players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. Many experts thought it was an impossible situation and certainly many throughout the world were highly motivated to pray for their safety and release. It was an amazing recovery program by the Thai Navy seals helped by courageous volunteers from all over the globe who also risked their lives in the recovery process. Many see the result as an answer to their prayers.
Does God answer prayers in today’s world? For those who have been in difficult situations and who brought their needs before the Lord and saw their prayers answered, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” However not everyone has a picture in their minds of a benevolent divine being. It is of little help if the picture in our minds is of a capricious god who has no desire to listen to nor care for their needs of those who cry out to Him for help. If you scratch some people deeply enough you find that there is a simmering resentment towards God for some perceived “failure” on His part towards them or towards members of their families. The writer to the Hebrews put it quite bluntly, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb 11:6. The writer saw 2 things as necessary in approaching God. The first is to believe that He actually exists. The second is to believe that His character is such that He wants to reward those who do seek Him.
This is similar to what Jesus taught when He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Mat 7:7-11. It is not enough to think God exists. Humans have to be proactive in asking, seeking and knocking to enable Him to bestow good things on those who approach Him in faith.
In some previous articles I looked at Psalm 139 which contains some of the most profound concepts of the characteristics of God one can find anywhere. In brief David describes God as the Searching God who knows everything about us. He then turns that statement about God [“O LORD, you have searched me and known me!” Ps 139:1] into prayer at the end of the Psalm, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! Ps 139:23.] What David does is to base his prayer of openness to God in verse 23 on the attributes of God he has described throughout the whole Psalm.
I thought it might be helpful to have the links to those articles gathered in the one place in this article. You can open any of these articles by clicking on the number at the beginning of each subject.
139. An Outline Of Psalm 139. The Character Of The God Who Knows, Loves And Cares. Series No.1 of 7.
140. God Knows Everything About You And Still Loves You. Psalm 139:1-6. Series No.2 of 7
141. The God Who Is Present Everywhere. Psalm 139:7-12. Series No.3 of 7.
142. The Omnipotent God. He Can Do All Things. He Made Us. Psalm 139:13 18. Series No.4 of 7.
143. A Prayer Of Openness To God. Psalm 139:23-24. Series No.5 of 7.
144. Using The Truths Of Psalm 139 In Counselling Situations. Series No.6 of 7.
145. Applying The Truths Of Psalm 139 In Counselling Situations. Series No.7 of 7.
146. Praying To Bring About A Better World. Psalm 139:23-24.
Blog No.281. Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Wednesday 11th July 2018