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Being Alone with God: What It Takes to Make a Difference
We may imagine that a post with thousands of likes can make a difference. We may even think that a podcast with millions of listeners can alter the course of history. But what if the opposite were true? What if world change occurred solely as the result of personal change or silent one-on-one encounters with God?
In name of God, the prophet Hosea (14:4, King James translation) declares: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him.” That is, because God’s anger is turned away from a single individual, He will heal the entire nation. By extension, if one person can manage to live a truly holy life, God will then provide unconditional love to all of humanity.
On Mount Sinai, we encounter something similar. When Moses receives the first set of Tablets of the Covenant, the scene is accompanied by thunder and lightning. It is an event witnessed by the entire people. But soon after this dramatic event, these same people are seen dancing around a golden calf and Moses shatters the tablets in unfathomable dismay.
The first time Moses ascended Mount Sinai, he was accompanied by seventy elders whom he left behind before reaching the top of the mountain. This time God tells him: “No one shall ascend with you, neither shall anyone be seen anywhere on the mountain.” (Exodus 34:3) Moses receives the second set of Tablets alone, without thunder or lightning, but this time he delivers them intact to the people, to be stored in the ark of the Tabernacle. This time his mission is complete.
And then there is the story of Elijah’s encounter with God:
“Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” (I Kings 19:11-13)
The din around us obscures the voice of God. We need to find a quiet place, alone with Him, in order to hear it.
We tend to think that a favorable outcome of a war or an election is the result of human effort, personality, circumstance, or a combination of all three. But what if a pious soul simply prayed for the desired outcome, God heard their prayer, and acted accordingly? We won’t know the answer to this question until we pass on to the world of truth, but I am inclined to believe we will be in for some big surprises when the curtain is pulled back and we learn what goes on behind the scenes.Published in General
I appreciate your words, Jim.
Perhaps not every personal relationship with God is going to change the world but it certainly changes the person. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God for anything. It’s my greatest joy. Thank you for this.
You are welcome, Manny.
I am reading this early in the morning with my first cup of coffee. The dogs are quietly sleeping on their beds, family still tucked in theirs. I normally have sound on (podcasts, music, Fox Business) to drown the tinninatis in my ear. For some reason, I did not have anything on when I read this and the ringing happened to recede while reading your post. My day is already a great one thanks to you. God Bless!
Glad to have helped, Bunsen. May God bless this day for you, and all days to come.
Lovely thoughts, thank you.
I would pile on by pointing out that most people who come to or leave faith do not do so because of the tenets or texts of that faith. They do it as a result of a meaningful (positive or negative) interaction with someone who represents that faith in their eyes. In other words, our interpersonal experiences are pivotal in the choices we make – far more than anything from reason.
Thanks for the kind words and for your valuable insight, iWe..
A beautiful piece, Joshua. And I concur with iWe’s comment–
“I would pile on by pointing out that most people who come to or leave faith do not do so because of the tenets or texts of that faith. They do it as a result of a meaningful (positive or negative) interaction with someone who represents that faith in their eyes.
Thanks Susan. I appreciate the compliment.
The lives of the Bible heroes reinforce this belief. All individuals whose personal interactions with God led to changes in the nation and the world.
Well, that’s inconsistent with many other things in Scripture, including the Old Testament. You might want to think about that.
Contrary teachings include Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28, Ezekiel (just about the whole book), and Elijah’s treatment of the prophets of Baal. Oh, and many episodes in the days of Moses, from the Golden Calf to the rebellion of Korah to the death of Aaron’s sons.
Hosea acted out an example of the promises that God made elsewhere, that in the destruction of the unfaithful, He would preserve a remnant, and when that remnant turned back to Him, He would forgive them.
Yes this is true but it’s complicated I think. There is this very notable exception:
Then Abraham approached Him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, He left, and Abraham returned home. (Genesis 18:26:32)
There are a few other examples but I think the ones you point out are noteworthy. The complication is that when G-d finally does condemn all it is memorable and is written down. For the most part you have hundreds of years of sinful kings and G-d doesn’t destroy Israel until a certain point. The years He doesn’t are noteworthy but nothing is written down except that in a number of places G-d is said to be kind and slow to anger. So both happen.
A clear example today is our sinful nation. Just look around. It’s a moral sewer and He has been merciful so far.
Good comments, Manny. One correction, though: Israel was never destroyed. At no point, certain or otherwise. Exile, sure, but always forgiven and always beloved.
Yes, poor word choice in “destroyed.”