Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Thought of God

I find it interesting that Satan’s first assault on man’s soul was not actually intended to discredit the word of God but rather the character of God. He said to Eve “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” His sinful suggestion was a serious slander aimed at their Creator. He was saying, as it were, “Has God put you in the midst of all these delicious fruit trees and then forbidden you from tasting even one? What sort of cruel and callous God is this you serve? Does He sit up there in heaven grinning with pleasure as His creatures are forced to famish in the midst of plenty?”

Our enemy knows he can trip man up more easily with a subtle attack upon the nature of God than a direct assault upon the Word of God. Oh my soul…what are your thoughts of God today? Dear struggling and suffering soul, what think ye of God? Dear tired and lonely soul, what think ye of God? Dear pressured and tempted soul, what think ye of God? Unworthy thoughts of God are the net that the Devil casts to catch souls under the trials and tribulations of life.

Was not this exactly the thinking of the man Jesus describes in the parable of the talents? He was given one talent and he buried it in the ground. When the master returned this miserable servant could only say “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man…” Oh my soul, and oh dear reader, is that your thought of God this day? Are you cherishing harsh thoughts of God? What a strange and sad irony that this servant was so quick to think harshly of his Lord, but so slow to think harshly of his own sin! Oh the deceitfulness of sin and the craftiness of Satan! God Himself is often tried and convicted in the courtroom of our mind, while our own disobedience passes by the judge of conscience without a word.

J.C. Ryle, the English clergyman, once wrote “Let us never allow ourselves to think harsh thoughts of God. Let us never suppose that He can give us anything that is not really for our good. Let us see in every sorrow and trouble of our earthly pilgrimage, the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for our sins.”[1] Dear Christian, let not your heart be troubled nor your soul saddened by severe thoughts toward your Savior. Hear God’s Word through the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Our thoughts of God will often influence our thoughts of others also. The elder brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son was sharp and sour toward his sinful sibling. But why? Jesus ends the parable with an insight that explains his hardened heart, and it was harsh thoughts toward his father. “These many years I have been serving you…and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends (Luke 15:20).” He saw himself as a slave, and his father a cruel master. Pastor and theologian Sinclair Ferguson once remarked in a sermon “we are to others, precisely what we believe God has been to us.”

What of you, my unbelieving friend, neighbor or distant reader? What thoughts of God have kept you from trusting in Him and turning from sin today? Do you think His service hard? Jesus said “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Do you think His wages are unworthy? What of the wages you presently earn? “For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Abandon every thought of God that comes not from His Word. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7).”

[1] Old Paths, p. 386

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