One time a famous bishop got up in the pulpit in London and famously declared, "God is no daddy in the sky" or words to that effect and caused a tsunami of criticism to fall on his irreverent head. The bishop was perhaps one of those people who thinks that God is not involved in daily life, who believes that God made the world and has left it to go its own way while he (God) gets on with other things. Some people agree with this concept of God, this theory of "Deism" and conduct their lives accordingly and the devastating effects are here for all to see.
Your beliefs are important because they determine your conduct, which in turn establish your character, and it's your character, as an individual, when combined with others define a community; and hence the world we live in.
If an individual believes that there is no God and he is accountable to no one, then it is not surprising that he turns out to be a sadist, a pervert, a serial killer, an anti-government, anti-authority rebel, a thoroughly sinister person or even a holocaust-causing Hitler.
But many who do not believe in God and consider themselves accountable to no one are people of "high" esteem, they sit on thrones and control boardrooms, they head religious organisations and run governments, they clothe themselves in the mantra of respectability and their success is often envied; but underneath they are deadly vipers ripping the heart out of humanity.
And all because of what they believe.
These people do not inflict physical wounds directly, nor are they brought to court to face charges of violence but in truth they commit the vilest of atrocities to humanity; psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and to people's morale and self-esteem. People like the bankers who can unapologetically destroy whole families and communities and even countries with their nefarious schemes, people like politicians and elected officials that lie and scheme to feather their own nest, people like lawyers who regard it as their inalienable rights to fleece their clients, people like accountants and financial advisers whose lives are dedicated to helping the rich steal through tax evasion, and all similar people. All these inflict grievous harm on humanity on a daily basis and they are unconscionable.
And all because of what they believe.
Generations of young people are growing up in a world that is fast becoming hostile to decency, civility, caring and morality and the norms that have elevated the world from barbarism and anarchy. Every wholesome thing in today's world is questioned and challenged with hostility and the crude and riffraff promoted and endorsed. Just look at the decadence consuming humanity where same-sex liaisons are encouraged, family life is sneered at, churchgoing is deemed backward, spirituality is resented, pre-marital and extra-marital sex is being supported and where children being born out of wedlock are becoming standard. The values that flows from right thinking and moral behaviour are becoming as obsolete as dinosaurs.
And all because of what they believe.
In truth this should come as no surprise to people of faith for the fallen world is compounded of all the elements of depravity foreseen and foretold by the Apostles of old. St. Paul in a letter to Timothy said this about our time:
"Remember this: There are some terrible times coming in the last days. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud and boast about themselves. They will abuse others with insults. They will not obey their parents. They will be ungrateful and against all that is pleasing to God. They will have no love for others and will refuse to forgive anyone. They will talk about others to hurt them and will have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. People will turn against their friends. They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. They will go on pretending to be devoted to God, but they will refuse to let that "devotion" change the way they live. Stay away from these people! Some of them go into homes and get control over weak women, whose lives are full of sinwomen who are led into sin by all the things they want. These women always want to learn something new, but they are never able to fully understand the truth." (2 Timothy 3:1-7 ERV)
Powerful words indeed from St. Paul and a reminder that God is proactive and diligent, allowing us to know what is coming and preparing our minds and hearts that we might triumph over adversity.
NO BELIEVER will ever be overwhelmed by hardship and suffering that has a full and proper concept of Almighty God in much the same way as each believer is to have on a full and complete armour (Ephesians 6:11). Believers short-change God and invite defeat to themselves when they do not realise the comprehensive service God provides at all times because of who he is. This is NECESSARY for victorious, everyday living and dare we forget it.
SO WHAT IS GOD TO YOU?
Here are seven important things that God is for ALL believers in good standing with God.
1. He is our shield and buckler. "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." (Psalm 18:30) This speaks to God's all-round protection to believers, his power to ward off evil and all types of unwanted approaches seen and unseen and his ability to command providence to work in your favour even when you are unaware of it doing so.
2. He is our sure refuge. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) In times of danger, wrath, misery and distress God is the only safe refuge, one to which we always have access and is commanded to flee for shelter and protection. The word impregnable comes easily to mind for this refuge is completely safe from all unauthorised intrusions and your safety and peace of mind is absolutely guaranteed.
3. He is our strong tower. "The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." (Proverbs 18:10) This is more than just another stronghold, this is God's omnipotence on naked display for the enemy to see and for them to know that any breach is impossible. Here is where demons fear to tread since they realize that "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." (Psalm 34:7)
4. He is our rock. "For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me." (Psalm 31:3) Whereas others stand on shifting sand and dubious grounds believers stand firmly on the rock Jesus Christ (On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is shifting sand) and reap the sumptuous benefits accordingly. No dilly-dallying here, no uncertainty and no fear for this rock is representative of God's sure foundation on which we can build and know it will endure for all eternity.
5. He is our defence. "Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence." (Psalm 59:9) This speaks to the sufficiency of God to care for and handle all aspects of the welfare of the believer and to deliver him from all his enemies. It is because God has so many mighty tools at his command, and is so in touch with, and cares so deeply, for each believer that our confidence is unshakeable in his ability to defend us just like David who said, "... in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." (Psalm 56:4)
6. He is our hiding place. "Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance." (Psalm 32:7) David was accustomed to hiding from deadly enemies and he yearned for protection and concealment from them. This speaks to a dedicated refuge that hinders the barrage of assaults of the enemy and a certainty of preservation from failure and defeat.
7. He is our helper. "Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul." (Psalm 54:4) This speaks of God's sure and eternal assistance in all facets of the believer's life, and no area or facet of livelihood is exempt. This embraces the spiritual, emotional, temporal and secular; and is founded on the ability of God to do whatever is needed to deliver believers from the horrible pit of darkness and ignorance, out of the hands of their enemies, out of the traps and snares of Satan, and guarantees them the safety, integrity, perseverance and peace to which they aspire.
These seven important features that define God's relationship with believers give a good understanding of who God really is to us, and when we combine these with what we know of God in his capacity as a provider (Jehovah Jireh), healer (Jehovah Rapha), our peace (Jehovah Shalom), etc., we end up with a complete and proper understanding that is theologically sound and biblically truthful. Believers therefore need to be bold in accessing all the promises of God (Hebrews 4:16) remembering what we are told, "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry." (Psalm 34:15)
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013