Jump Start # 2480
Psalms 50:21 “These things you have done, and I kept silence; you thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you, and state the case in order before your eyes.”
Our verse today comes from a section in which God is speaking to the wicked. They have distorted, ignored and broken the laws and the heart of God. The list of wrongs is long. It is as if we are sitting in a courtroom. God is the prosecutor and Israel is on trial. God presents arguments why He is throwing the book at the nation. They are guilty, and here is why.
There are two thoughts that come out of our verse today.
First, silence, especially from God, does not mean approval. How simplistic and carnal is the mind that declares, “If God didn’t want me to do this, He’d stop me.” If God were striking folks dead for lying, as He did to Ananias and Sapphira, there’d be many of us not around. We get away with sin, at least for now. We can tell lies. We can mistreat people. We can carry sour attitudes and talk about others in a bad way. We divorce our wives, split churches, and blaspheme the holy name of God. The porn industry, the liquor industry, the drug pushers and foul comedians have all gotten insanely rich and profited by sin. Crime does pay, at least for now. Silence does not mean God is ok with these things. Silence from Heaven does not mean we can do what we want. Silence does not mean that there will be no consequences coming down the road for us.
I kept silence.
Second, you thought that I was just like you. What a mistake that was. How foolish that was. Even in a marriage, where God declares that two become one, still there are major differences. Given the choice of a snack, my wife would go for grapes or fruit. Me, it’s chips. When it comes to movies, she’d like a Disney show. Me, war movies or car chases. She likes to go to bed early. I like to stay up. She likes to sleep in, I like to get up early. I love my wife dearly, but she is not like me. I would not want to be married to me. One of me is enough in the house and in the world.
Israel thought that God was like them. “Just like you,” is the expression. Well, what was Israel like? They didn’t keep the covenant. God did. They were unfaithful. God is faithful. They were shallow. God is deep. They were selfish. God is generous. They were sinful. God is holy. They tried to move God out of their lives. God tried to move Israel into His life. They couldn’t keep commitments. God did. They lied. God was honest. They broke promises. God kept His. They were carnal. God is spiritual.
One is hard pressed to find any similarities between Israel and God. They were not like God at all and God was not like them. Israel, as our society has today, manufactured their own definition of God. Israel’s make believe God was a softy. He looked the other way at wrong. He could bend the rules, stretch the truth, and find ways to do whatever he wanted to. Israel’s make believe God could smile at wrong. He’d party with them. He could swear, cheat and lie, if need be. He was a good ole’ boy. He was one of them. And, this is what our times have done with God. They have manufactured a God that marches with homosexuals, drinks responsibly, rock ‘n roll with the best of them. Today’s God can be a woman, if that’s what you want. Today’s God doesn’t even pay attention to the Bible that He was supposed to have written. He is fluid, changing, and never absolute. The manufactured God of today is more upset with global warning than killing babies. He’s a humanist, an evolutionist, a feminist, and politically liberal. He is just like us! That’s what Israel thought and that’s what many want to believe today.
Now, thinking this through, why would Israel even need God? Why do we need God? If He is just like us, then where is the hope? Where is the salvation? Where is the uniqueness? Where is the purity and holiness? Where is the role model? Where is the positive example? Why be like God, if He is already like us?
The fact is, God is not like us. When Moses first spoke to God, he was told to remove his shoes. He was standing upon holy ground. The priests were to purify themselves before they entered worship with God. The sacrifices were to be unblemished and the best.
God is not like us. He is not a better version of us. He is the Lord Almighty. We ruin our relationship with God when we believe that He is just like us. I am so glad that He is not. There are days I am tired. There are days when I do not feel like being around people. There are days when my attitude really needs some work. There are days when the selfish spirit rises up. There are days that Satan knocks on the door of my heart and I open it and invite him in. There are days I do not let my light shine very brightly at all. But, then there are days when I feel very close to God. There are days when I have done the right thing. There are days when I feel bold, confident and strong in the Lord. Is God like this? Catch Him on a bad day and look out? He might be kind or He might be mean?
Poor Israel and poor us, for making the grave mistake that God is like us. There is nothing that would lead to that conclusion other than a sinful heart that does not want to change. Spending time in the Gospels with Jesus will lift your spirits and help your character to grow. Seeing how holy God is will lead you to giving your best in worship. We want to be with God, not because He’s like us, but because He is not like us. He’s always right. He’s always good. He’s always generous.
When you start with “God is just like us,” you’ve made the wrong step. Where that will take you is not closer to God, but away from God. God is not your buddy. He is not your co-pilot. He’s not one you hang with. He is the Lord Almighty. He is the God of Heaven and Earth. Hallowed be His name. Hallowed be His way. Hallowed is He.
The Heaven scene in Revelation shows the host bowing down to God upon the throne. No one chit-chats with God. No one treats God as one of us. No one teases God. Reverence. Worship. Devotion. Praise. That’s what comes from those Revelation pages.
Is God like us? No. And, for that we ought to be thankful. If He was, we’d be in trouble.