Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
How do you perceive God’s personality? Is He an old man who sits grumpily in the skies just waiting for someone to foul up so He can bring down His wrath upon the wretched being? Is He ever pleased with anything or anyone? Is He a perfectionist who demands that all things be done just the way He would do them or else they are unacceptable? Just who is God?
Consider the following passage: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11.15-6).
From the fact that Enoch pleased God we can know that it is at least possible for a human being to please God the Father. However, perhaps Enoch’s ability to please God was a rarity that was not to be repeated in the annals of human history. The second verse in the quoted passage indicates otherwise. The plain sense of the passage indicates that others have an equal opportunity to please God – that is if they possess and act out of faith. However, it is impossible to please God without the essential element of faith. The text say as much but the inference that almost anyone would draw from the context is that pleasing God is NOT impossible as long as faith is alive and well.
The remainder of this paragraph will deal with a few passages that speak explicitly of pleasing God and some of the things that are involved. Paul wrote, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5.9-10). Again from the same apostle’s pen: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1.9-10). Hear now from the great apostle of love, John: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3.21-22). Finally, we cite one more passage from the Hebrews writer: “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13.20-21).
God can be pleased. He is not an all powerful being without being an all understanding God. He knows the trials and tribulations which we as humans endure as well as the limited resources with which we have to work. Jesus came to this earth to help us to understand the fact that He understands! He was hungry just as you and I are sometimes hungry; He was tempted in the same manner as all other human beings. Again hear the Hebrews writer: “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4.15-16).
Who is God? He is an infinitely good being who literally rejoices to see His children succeed. It is this success that pleases Him above all human description. He (Enoch) pleased God; so can we!
1. In what era did Enoch live? What can be said of him and only one other person in the Bible?
2. How do we know that Enoch was not an extraordinarily rare bird, one who so gifted so as to make a similar feat all but impossible for the ordinary Joe like me?
3. What is one thing, according to John, that pleases the Father?
4. What attributes of God’s character say that He can be pleased by ordinary human beings?
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