How does God work through time?
How does God reveal Himself to us?
Consider and contrast the sports of Test Cricket and basketball. The former is an interminable five day experience of relaxation interrupted by the occasional frenzy. The latter, as demonstrated by the historic Soviet win over the USA in the 1972 Olympic games, can switch focus in just a couple of seconds. Yet both are valid human experiences and provide joy for spectators and reward for the participants. Both are played according to agreed rules, but are governed by what has become a key driving force in society today … time. In cricket, time tells us when to stop for refreshment and lunch and warns us when play is too slow. In basketball, time is so precious that a special clock is used that measures just 24 second periods!
There is also a serious angle to this. Time has such a hold on people today that it is actually killing some of us by imposing impossible schedules and timetables, urging us to meet deadlines and targets that are not always consistent with human health. As a result people suffer from stress, resulting in physical and mental illness, even prompting suicide in extreme cases.
It has not always been so, because we in the Western world have bought into a concept of time, the Greek view, which was not originally intended! Be prepared to be liberated!
God lives outside of time, in this timeless, endless place called eternity. One day He commenced His major project:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning --the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)
In that first moment He created space, a place where things can exist, and time, an unrolling canvas where He could interact with His creation. Unique among all created beings is man (and woman), who are able in certain circumstances to see beyond the current time frame.
I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11).
We are built with the potential to glimpse into eternity, into heavenly places, though few have exercised this privilege.
God has chosen to reveal Himself at certain times in history to certain people. In fact we can say that He is the God of history, not the God of geography. God is not found in holy places, but rather in sacred events that live in the memory of individuals. Here is a scriptural pointer to this fact. We have already seen this verse.
People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them--that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.'" (1 Kings 9:9)
How does God identify Himself? As the One who brought their fathers out of Egypt. An historical act, a hugely significant historical act. God then appeared to 2 million people at Sinai. It is an unprecedented but overlooked fact that here we have God audibly speaking to a whole nation. Sinai as a place is not important, but what happened at Sinai definitely is.
The LORD said to Moses, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you." Then Moses told the LORD what the people had said. (Exodus 19:9)
So what did the people hear? Nothing less than the Torah, the teachings. And what was their response? In fact, they had already responded to the initial call.
The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD. (Exodus 19:8)
A nation had been formed here. A kingdom of priests who had pledged their allegiance communally to the King of Heaven. Nothing like this has ever happened before or since. No wonder the Jews have remained a distinct people. Sustained not only by a divine promise, but by the memory of the event at Sinai. Anyone who continues to assert that God has turned His back on the Jews has to consider that this is the only nation ever to be commissioned en masse by the Creator of the Universe!
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp