“If I only knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling.”
“But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the North, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
This season of Advent is one in which we engage in personal preparation for the celebration of Christmas. At its best Advent and Christmas is a time of real worship in which a Christian engages in self examination in order to deepen our repentance and walk with the LORD. As a consequence we find ourselves engaged in a season of meditation in which we seek to discern and submit to the will of God for our lives. The process we undergo is one of Biblical Meditation. Here I am not writing about that type of undirected thinking which often passes for meditation these days. I am writing about engaging in careful, thoughtful rumination upon the Word of God. We want to understand God’s Word to us therefore we must meditate upon His written revelation which is contained in the Bible. There really is no substitute for it.
To this end one of the most fertile parts of the Bible for confronting ourselves with the ultimate questions regarding the Will of God for our lives is the book of Job. Here in the agonized musings of an afflicted man who is on his way to an encounter with the Living God we encounter questions which confront the hopes and fears which we find ourselves constantly struggling with. He asks our questions. In doing so he often forces us to ask those very questions of ourselves. As we do so we discover that the questions which Job is asking are in fact unearthing the reality behind our anxiety and uncertainty in life. One such question is that which we encounter in the twenty third chapter of Job. We want to know God. We are desperately seeking after Him. Deep inside we know that we were created in order to worship God, that desire for worship shows up in all kinds of ways in our lives. Each of us worships something, we cannot help it. It seems that we were created in order to worship something, or someone. Deep down we know that real worship must be of the God who has created us. We are, however, easily distracted. We give our worship to lesser things, and in that way we fall under the judgement of God. Job is a man earnestly seeking to Know God, he has engaged in an extensive search for Him, but he has not been able to find Him. Many people today engaging in such a search might be tempted to think that God cannot be found, or even that He does not exist. Job does not come to that conclusion. He notes that God has a purpose for the search. It is a testing that will bring about an increasing maturity in Job’s character. As the book proceeds Job does encounter God in reality and the result is that he is brought to real repentance. To really meet God and to have revealed to our sinful nature the reality of God’s character is to be overwhelmed by His awesome holiness. This can only lead to humility born of deep repentance.
The reality is, as Psalm 139:7-10 tells us, there is no place in all of creation in which we will not encounter God. He is everywhere. The problem is that we are often unwilling to see Him as He really is. This is why this process of Biblical meditation is so vital to us. It forces us to ask the dangerous and probing questions which bring us to see the LORD as He has revealed Himself. The prophet Isaiah leads us to this in chapters seven and following in his book when he keeps presenting Emmanuel, God with us.” In the Christmas season we are brought to see that God has not revealed himself in a palace or among the great and wealthy. He comes as a helpless baby, laid in a manger in a stable. In great humility and weakness we encounter the creator of the universe. He is the Incarnate Son of God.
In the book of Revelation the Apostle John gives us the ultimate answer to Job’s question. In Revelation 5:5-6 John tells us this. “Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the Throne.” Where do we find God? We find Him in the cross. We find Him in the empty tomb. We find Him interceding for us in the Throne of God. We find Him, in love, bearing our sin and giving us life eternal. All we need do is receive that life through faith. Will you?