“Where is God?” This is a simple question that we should not be taken lightly or asked casually. In times of struggle, when we face trials and challenges, we ask, “Where is God?” In Judges 6, when an angel of the Lord comes before Gideon, God poses this question in verse 13. “If Jehovah is with us, why are these things happening to us?” In II Kings 18, Sennacherib and the Rabshakeh challenge Hezekiah and the residents of Jerusalem with a similar question. “Where is your god?” Joel 2:17 and Psalm 42 contain requests that Israel’s enemies not be able to ask, “Where is your God.” Finally, in Malachi 2:17, expresses frustration with their question His presence.
The problem is not that God moves away from His people of old or from us. Rather, they and we move away from God. In this lesson, we are going to consider three ways we can drift from God.
Moving Away from God
- We lose Him in lack of prayer. In Isaiah 44:15, the prophet speaks of the absurdity of building a god from the same wood he would throw into a fire. Isaiah pictures His people as praying to their idols, crediting them for God’s deliverance. Hosea 2:13 revisits God’s people praying to others instead of Him. They lose Him in a lack of prayer.
- We lose Him in lack of study. Hosea 4:6 calls God’s people destroyed for rejecting God’s knowledge. Malachi 2:7-8 chastises God’s priests for being ignorant of His word – the teachers are as ignorant as the learners. They lose God in a lack of study.
- We lose Him in our priorities. Malachi 1:6-8 illustrates the lack of import God’s people would place on His worship and sacrifices. Haggai 1:5-7 calls of God’s people to consider their ways in comparison to His word. Haggai 1 is a chapter about priorities, and God’s people lose Him in their misplaced priorities.
God Is Not Lost
We are the same. We give up on prayer. We fail to study God’s word. We get caught up in the priorities and standards of this world, giving God our leftovers. God is not lost. His power is not void. We simply distance ourselves from him. Paul, in Colossians 4:3, calls on Christians to pray for God to open doors of opportunity, and I Thessalonians 3:11 attests to God’s power to grow His people and direct our paths. In Philippians 4:19, Paul expresses confidence that God will supply his every need, and II Timothy 1:7 says God gives us a spirit of power, love, and self-control.
Finally, I Peter 5:10-11 credits God with the power to restore us, strengthen us, and establish us in His service. God is not lost nor is His throne vacant. It is we who lose Him in our lives, and we will find Him exactly where we left Him. When looking for something, we often ask ourselves where the last place was we had it. Perhaps we have lost God in our priorities, in our lack of study, or in our lack of prayer. We can find Him, however, in those very places where we left Him. God is there for us to find. We have but to look.
lesson by Tim Smelser