Questions People Ask the Church: Can I Trust God?
The generation that makes up today's young adults and teenagers has been given the title Generation X by sociologists. They are also known as Baby Busters to distinguish them from the Baby Boomers. There are 46 million of them.
Taken as a whole, Generation X is more pessimistic then any other group of Americans. An astounding percentage of junior and senior high school students believe the world is doomed. If there is a word which describes the attitude of Generation X that word is "hopelessness." They look to the future and feel they have little to look forward to. They are media savvy but feel alienated and disaffected from mainstream culture. They have been characterized as being observers instead of participants.
They do not trust the institutions of our society because they believe in large part that those institutions have let them down. They look at our government and see only self-serving politicians, corruption, and gridlock. They look at the school system and see ineffectualness. They look at the home and see brokenness, divorce and failure. They look at the economy and see an increasing polarization of wealth.
You should not be surprised, therefore, to learn that Generation X is also the least religious of any group of Americans.
The skepticism that permeates their attitudes toward the institutions of society carries over into their belief-system. The central question on their minds is, "Can I trust God?"
The resounding answer is "YES, YOU CAN!"
Why? Let me offer two suggestions based on Abraham's experience with God
I. OUR GOD IS A GOD WHO IS THERE!
- throughout the Scriptures, God progressively revealed something about His character through His names
- two persons cannot know one another unless they tell each other about themselves
- God tells us about Himself by revealing His character to us through names
- to Adam and his sons, He was Elohim-Adonai the Lord God
- to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob He was El Shaddai God Almighty
- when God disclosed Himself to Moses He revealed His personal name Jehovah
- God told Moses, "I Am" is my name
- He is a God existed before creation
- He is a God never changes
- He is a God who is utterly faithful to His own nature
- He is a God who cannot cease to exist
- from Moses on He was always Jehovah, but as God would reveal something new about His character, His servants would add an adjective to His personal name that magnified his personality
- to David He became Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord my Shepherd
- to Gideon He became Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord my peace
- to Jeremiah He became Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord my righteousness
- and to Ezekiel He became Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord who is there
- our God is a God who is there for us
A. IF WE ARE GOING TO LEARN TO TRUST GOD WE MUST DEVELOP A LOVE-RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
- can you really get to know God
- God is not playing cosmic hide-and-seek with His creation
- our God is into self-disclosure
- He has revealed Himself through the natural world, and through the pages of Scriptures, and through His only begotten son, Jesus Christ
- the reason so many people don't feel they can trust God is because they don't know God very well and therefore have a limited view of who God is
- ILLUS. Two nine-year-old boys were playing one day when they got into an argument about who had the best father. As little boys are prone to exaggerate, one would claim how well his dad could do something, and the other would say, "Oh, yeah? Well my dad can do that better!" The argument eventually escalated into a shouting match in which the one was telling the other, in no uncertain terms, "You'd better not ever do anything to me because my dad's bigger and stronger than your dad." Well, that's a challenge no nine-year-old boy can turn down, so the boy demanded that they go over and see if the one boy's father was as big and strong as he had said. Arriving at the door, the son called his father to come out. As he did, the friend discovered that his friends father was everything the boy had claimed and more. The father was tall as a tree. He had the build of a St. Louis Ram's nose-tackle. His biceps were the size of rolled up phone books. He had a voice that sounded like thunder and a presence that demanded awe and even a little fear. The doubting-Thomas nine-year-old took one look at this giant of a man, told his friend, "You're right, he is a giant," and with that he turned and ran for home. But it was the things that he did not see that told the true story of this hulk of a man. The boy was not there that evening to hear this giant of a father tenderly tell his son, "Hey, it's getting close to bedtime. Why don't you go up and get your pajamas on, and let's read a couple of books together?" The boy was not there to see his friend crawl up in his father's lap, and to watch as the dad put his arms around his son and begin reading. The boy who ran away because of fear, did not see this father carry his boy on his back to the bedroom, nor did he hear as the father talked to his son, pray with him, tell him that he loved him. He was not there to see the father kiss his son good night, nor could he watch as the boy drifted off to sleep contented and peaceful. The friend had only seen the power and might of his friend's father, and he had developed a respect and fear for the man and had decided to keep his distance. The son, however, experienced and continued to experience the love and grace of a father whom he had gotten to know.
- this God of ours who is so different than we are who is so big and so immense and so powerful wants to have a personal relationship with you
- to that end He has gone to great lengths to reveal His character and nature and even His very thoughts to us so that we may know Him
B. GOD HAD REVEALED HIMSELF TO ABRAHAM AND PURSUED A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM
- Genesis 15:1 "After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." NIV
- at least five times it is recorded that "God appeared" to Abraham
- twice more the Scriptures tell us that "the word of the Lord came unto Abraham"
- and twice we are told that "angel of the LORD" called out to Abraham with a message from God
- what's the point?
- Abraham knew God
- because Abraham knew God He had learned to trust God
- why did Abraham trust God?
- because everything God had every promised Abraham had happened just as God said it would
- Abraham learned that our God is a God who is there
II. OUR GOD IS A GOD WHO PROVIDES
- the greatest test in the life of Abraham came after God had promised him the son for which he had waited all his life
- the test was very real: Abraham was to give Isaac back to God
- as a test it was designed to prove faith and for it to be a real test, it had to defy logic; it had to be something Abraham wanted to resist
- the question is, "Could Abraham trust God?"
- you see, we have the benefit of hind sight
- we read the story of Abraham's test and we know how it turns out
- God is faithful and He provides a ram as a substitute for Isaac
- Abraham did not have the luxury of knowing "the rest of the story"
- Abraham's response was staggering he gave instant, unquestioning obedience
- He even got an early start!
- Genesis 22:3 "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." KJV
- God had planned the future around Isaac
- God wanted him to sacrifice Isaac
- that is faith
A. ABRAHAM TRUSTED GOD BASED ON HIS PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES WITH GOD
- Abraham's God was a God who acted and was involved in his life over a long period of time
- Abraham had learned that you can predict God's faithfulness in the future by looking at God's record in the past
- ILLUS. If there is a word which describes the attitude of Generation X that word is "hopelessness." They look to the future and feel they have little to look forward to. They are media savvy but feel alienated and disaffected from mainstream culture. They have been characterized as being observers instead of participants. They do not trust the institutions of our society because they believe in large part that those institutions have let them down. In their natural skepticism they also wonder, "Can I trust God?" Will He too, let me down? To those who are struggling with the question, "Can I trust God?" let me offer these final words.
- God is always there and He wants you to know Him
- that knowledge begins when you commit your heart to Him in love and obedience by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior
- the more you depend on God, the more dependable you'll find He is
- like Abraham, you will learn that you can predict God's faithfulness in the future by looking at God's record in the past
- if you will commit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and follow his ways, you'll discover that our God is a God who is not only there, but a God who will provide