God Is In the Details
by Tom Stewart
November 7, 2000
It must be a fearful thing for the inhabitants of this world to
have no one to trust but themselves! "He
that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs
28:26). Life is much too complicated for man to be able to attend
to all the details without making a sorry mess of things. "Thus
saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm,
and whose heart departeth from the LORD" (Jeremiah
17:5). Imagine a performer attempting to keep several plates spinning
on their sides on top of a table. It is hard enough to keep one plate spinning; but,
while running between the plates, as another plate is added, then two, three, or
more-- the difficulty increases immensely-- until so many plates are added that they
all come crashing down! "Verily every
man at his best state is altogether vanity" (Psalm
39:5). As difficult as it is for man to understand or admit, man is
only a limited being, when compared to the Unsearchably Great God (145:3). "Cease ye from man, whose breath
is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?"
A man has not yet discovered himself, who has not found himself to be thoroughly untrustworthy. "A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself" (Proverbs 18:2). The Master's parable of the Prodigal Son shares with us Divine Insight into how God brings a man to the realization that he cannot save himself, by allowing him to experience his limitations. "11 And [Jesus] said, A certain man had two sons: 12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, 19 and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" (Luke 15:11-19).
A story is told about Leonardo da Vinci's painting in Milan, Italy, "The Last Supper" (1495-1497), where the figures of Christ and the twelve apostles were depicted upon a fresco on the wall of the refectory of the monastery of Sta. Maria delle Grazie. Beginning a labor of years of painting, da Vinci chose a man to model for Christ, whom he felt outwardly embodied the virtues that he desired to represent in his work. Choosing others to pose for the apostles, he finally came to the model for Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ. Searching through the dregs of society, he found a ragged, wretched, bloodshot drunkard with a haunted look upon him, a wreck of a man, whom he felt best represented the evil that would sell Christ to the Cross. As da Vinci finished with his model for Judas Iscariot, he mentioned to him that he felt like they had met before. The man replied that he had most certainly met da Vinci previously. In fact, he had been da Vinci's model for Christ only years earlier! "Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity" (Psalm 62:9).
However, when man has achieved a thorough disgust for himself, then he has the opportunity of translating that aversion into Evangelical Repentance for sinning against God, i.e., taking sides with the Almighty against himself for any and all offenses committed. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (1Timothy 1:15). If our heart represents anyone else's sin as worse than our own, then we have not yet truly repented. The marvel of the Gospel is that God is willing to reclaim us from our sins and Eternal Punishment, when we give up our rebellion against Him through a definite act of faith in Christ. "Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). Only then can He begin to fashion the details of our life into the image of Christ. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2Corinthians 5:17). What then God pronounces to be new, is new indeed-- as fresh as any canvas upon which an artist can begin to paint! "Hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).
So complete is the transformation of the sinner into the Saint, that God infallibly says that "His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto Life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2Peter 1:3). The secret of the Saints is in the new found Promises of God. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (1:4). [See our article, "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window.] Any who desire the sanctification that brings us Home to Heaven, i.e., "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23), must be sanctified by the Word of God, and especially the Promises. "Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth" (John 17:17). The Promises of God knit the heart of man to God with the confidence that alone pleases God. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). May the Heavenly Father bless with Christ's likeness in the details of your life, all those that seek Him in faith. "Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it" (1Thessalonians 5:24).
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