The ways of God are for many beyond comprehension. What does God do and how ? Indeed, for many today, the idea of God is a myth, an invention of the human mind, a superstition, and a crutch for the feeble minded who cannot otherwise cope with life.
However God has given us extensive testimony in the Bible about what he does and how. A good example is the patriachal figure, Abram or Abraham, who makes his entrance onto the stage of history in chapter 12 of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
In the very first verses of chapter 12 we see what God expects and how he operates. He expects obedience. He tells Abram to leave the land he knows and to start travelling to a place God will reveal to him in due course. God speaks to an individual, and tells that individual what to do.
God also tells us that there is a reward for the obedient. In this case, God will bless Abram, and he will do so by multiplying his descendants to become a great nation, and he will also cause Abram’s reputation to be widely known. In other words, God tells him that he will make Abram a significant figure in history.
No mean matter.
God is therefore the author of history – he is the determiner of the broad course of events in the earth, and he acts via human agency.
But for this to happen, Abram had to obey God. But that obedience does not come from Abram alone. That ability to believe and therefore act as God tells us actually comes from God himself. God knew what he wanted to do; God told Abram what he would do; God then gave Abram the ability to believe and act on what he had told him to do. He gave him FAITH.
The apostle Paul tells us that faith comes from God and that it comes by hearing God [Romans 10, verse 17]. In other words, it is all from God, and it is all to God’s glory and purpose.
God must be God. He must be the Author of the great plan for the world, and for us as individuals. He must be the one who Acts in us to achieve what he wants; he must be the one to whom all glory and honour must be Attributed – and we should then have him in AWE as God.
God is both Alpha and Omega, as John writes in the final book of the Bible, Revelation – he is the Beginning and the End – and incidentally everything in between.
God therefore has all initiative. He has the plan, and he has the means, and he has the purpose.
God chose Abram out of all the descendants of Noah. The list of Noah’s descendants is made known to us in chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis. Now God knew all those descendants of Noah by name. But out of them all, he chose Abram for a particular pupose. He selected Abram, and he ordained that Abram should found a great people.
I am reminded of the first chapters of the apostle Paul’s great letter to the Ephesians. In that letter, Paul speaks about the great truths I have just mentioned above. He writes in chapter 1, from verse 3,
BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO HATH BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST, ACCORDING AS HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME BEFORE HIM IN LOVE, HAVING PREDESTINATED US UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST TO HIMSELF ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL
and from verse 11, Paul writes,
IN WHOM ALSO WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE, BEING PREDESTINATED ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF HIM WHO WORKETH ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILL …
all of which depends on the faith which itself comes from God as a gift. Paul writes in chapter 2 verse 8 following:
FOR BY GRACE ARE YOU SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD ! NOT OF WORKS LEST AMY MAN SHOULD BOAST. FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS UNTO GOOD WORKS WHICH GOD HATH BEFORE ORDAINED THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM
Are we doing God’s works ?