Carl Sagan was an atheist who had this to say about the power a book possesses.
“What an astonishing thing a book is,” marveled [Carl] Sagan. “It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.”
Sagan’s comment certainly explains the desirability of books through the ages. It would also seem to explain the power and effectiveness of the Bible. Its author, God, is not dead and its words are timeless. That being said, one has to wonder why we don’t read the Bible more.
In the second chapter of his book, Tozer poses the question, “What is God like?”
“When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean in the exact image. To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all.”
Tozer goes on to say:
“Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need him. We want a God we can in some measure control. We need a feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like…”
Tozer adds that the answer to the question, what God is like, can be answered in the person of His son, Jesus Christ.
“In Christ and by Christ, God effects complete self-disclosure, although He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love. Faith is an organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience. God came to us in the incarnation; in atonement He reconciled us to Himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.”
We can only begin to understand what God is like if we study what Tozer regards as God’s attributes, which he addresses in the rest of the book. A divine attribute he says, “is something true about God.”
“A man is the sum of his parts and his character the sum of the traits that compose it. These traits very from man to man…The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God, it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist.”
When we look at God’s attribute of love, using the above above quotation, it is not something He has, love is who he is. Tozer goes on to discuss many other attributes such as the Trinity, His self existence, eternity, infinitude, omniscience, sovereignty and many more.
It is a great book, which I highly recommend reading. For those of us with a casual view of God it will shake up our perception of Him. As you progress through the book, you will be acquainted with the depths of God’s love and the height of His holiness.
Check out this song by Addison Road, “What do I know of holy”. It certainly captures a desire to know what is God like.
(33) “Follow it to the end” – this section of the 119th Psalm speaks about finishing well. God’s help is needed for us to stay the course and finish well. (37) “Turn my eyes” – our eyes have an appetite, we need to guard what they are focusing on. (41) “Thy salvation” – deliverance from the evil that is revealed to us in God’s word. (48) “I will lift up my hands” – how many of us can say that we reach out for God’s word like a child reaches for a gift (Spurgeon).
Matt Chandler in his video series on Psalm 119 titles this section, “Cause Me.” Our prayers should reflect two ideas: (1) to love what is good (give me an appetite for God’s Word) and (2) to hate what is evil (my selfishness can be a source of evil). Studying God’s word positions us to do both.
My prayer: Cause me to be certain of my faith, cause me to be thirsty for Your word and cause me to finish well.
Only human. This quote accurately portrays humans as imperfect beings vulnerable to failure. As we travel through life, it is clear that some of these human failures can be devastating. Thankfully, relationships we have made with others as we journey provide the necessary framework needed to make forgiveness and restoration possible. In matters with eternal consequences, it is a personal relationship with God, not a membership in religious institution that provides authentic hope for forgiveness and restoration of the human soul.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT
I am going all out in an attempt to give my class visual reminders of the message of Ecclesiastes. Previously I have used a glass of water and an open pair of cupped hands to convey keys to happiness and contentment. This week I implored them to dance their way through life. Outwardly or inwardly, openly or secretly it seems that dancing can be an expression of gratitude to God for all he has given us.
As I began to paraphrase Ecclesiastes chapter 3 into some kind of dance choreography, a dance used during intermissions at sporting events I have attended came to mind.
Yield to the God of heaven. He has determined a time and a season for everything.
In My heart he has planted eternity that I may seek him.
Though the Certainty of death has caused many to see life as vanity,
And Around me lies injustice and wickedness; I will give my cares to God and dance!
Y – M – C – A! Y – M – C – A! Can hear the music playing?
I am leading a group study of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. I began our study today with a question. “The key to happiness is _______. A simple, fill in the blank answer. I did get a few great answers from the class, but no one thought of my suggestion.
The key to happiness is a glass of water.
I proceeded to pour a half glass of water. As I poured, I posed another question to them, “Are you a glass is half full or a glass is half empty kind of person?” People from both persuasions participated in a show of hands. I asked the “glass is have empty” folks, “At any time did you see me empty anything out of the glass?” I had not emptied anything out. I only filled it half full.
I proposed to them that this glass of water represented a solitary persons life essence; their successes, achievements, financial well-being, family, etc. Everything valued in life.
My questioning continued…So, are we thankful for what we have (water already in the glass) or are we focused on what we don’t have (empty portion of the glass). The challenge we face is being happy and content with what we already have in our glass.
I poured water into a few more glasses. Some were filled to the brim, others appeared clearly more than half full. This batch of glasses, I said, represents a truly blessed society of peoples. The person with the half full glass, if they continually mingled with the richly blessed group, would naturally start wanting their glass to be filled more. Contentment, they believe, can only be found with more ________ . (Fill in the blank)
Next, a handful of other glasses were poured. This time the glasses received varying degrees of water, each much less than half full. Some glasses with barely enough water to cover the bottom. If, our half full glass subject mingled with the less fortunate, wouldn’t he or she be more appreciative of what they had in their glass. They may even be compelled to share some of their water it with the less fortunate. It is becoming apparent that perspective may have something to do with happiness.
To make another point I poured all the water out of each glass, including the half full one. “Which glass had the advantage now?” I asked. None of them. This, I said happens to each of us. When we die our glass is empty. Hence the opening lines of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity, Vanity all is vanity!” Where is the advantage for all our toil?
For my final point, I filled each of the empty glasses to the brim. As believers in Jesus Christ, life does not end when we die. Jesus, In John 10:10 said that he came to give us life, abundant life! This abundant life can be enjoyed in the here and now as we journey through life.
I decided to give the class a homework assignment. The next time each of you pours a glass, stop halfway and think of something that you are thankful for. Then, fill the glass the rest of the way. As you continue to pour, remember the abundant life we have in Christ.
Yes, the key to happiness can be found in a glass of water!