During our time in
our family visited Amsterdam.
Upon arriving at the famous Dam
Square which once fascinated and amazed a twelve
year old girl, who is now my wife, Wilma commented, saying; “The Dam Square”
has become very small; it is not as awe inspiring as it used to be”. What has
changed? Is it the Dam Square
or my wife’s perception of “The Dam Square”? Or may be both?
Isn’t it amazing what once considered a “wonder of the world” now may not necessarily be a wonder as new wonders are coming up all the time? For that matter what is a wonder to someone may not be a wonder for another person? I’ve realized this while touring
Amsterdam in a boat
through the many canals in the city. Mine and other Chinese tourists’ eyes were
popping out at every sight they came across, where as an average Dutch person
living in the streets of Amsterdam
may not even raise an eye brow at those sights.
While the rest were taking in the beauty of the city the Lord quietly drew my attention to the very word “Wonder” I began to wonder where exactly the wonder of the so called wonderful things lie? Is it in the things or in the eye of the beholder? The Lord challenged me once again about my wonder of Him. As a young, born again, on fire Christian in the 80’s I was amazed at the splendor and the majesty of God. The mere mention of the name God used to send such mixed feelings of awe and joy at the same time.
As the years go by do I still exhibit the same wonder? What has changed then? Has God changed, or my perception of Him has changed? How has your perception of God been of late? Is it clouded? Has your God become too small? What is bringing this perceptual blindness or the distorted view of God in our time? When last have you considered the wonders of God?
While several factors can be attributed to this changing perception, during my time in
Holland I came to realize two key factors
that could take our wonder of God away. One is the rise of postmodern thought
and our lack of scriptural and experiential knowledge of God.
First let me define the word “wonder”: It is a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. Wonder is one that arouses awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration; a marvel. Growing up in highly religious
I saw such wonder all around among the devoted people when it comes to God
regardless to an extent what religion people belong to. Interestingly in the
West both in America and Europe do I seldom see such awe and wonder of God? What could be the reason? It is the rise of
I. THE RISE OF POSTMODERNISM
In order for us to understand the word Postmodernism we must look at the previous era which is called the Modern era from 1900-until present. It is the age of exploration. Each episode in the Star Trek series begins with these words: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship
Enterprise. Its five-year mission is to
explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to
boldly go where no man has gone before.”
Whether we notice it or not we are currently living in the post modern era. How do we define the postmodern era? The post modern mind adopts three distinct ideologies that are contrary to the previous eras. First one, “All is difference” It abandons the quest for a unified grasp of objective reality. It asserts that the world has no center, only differing viewpoints and perspectives. In other words there is no such thing as one universal truth or reality. Secondly, the post modern mind is no longer convinced that knowledge is inherently good.
Thirdly, they no longer accept the previous view that “knowledge is objective” In other words knowledge is personal therefore it is subjective. The postmodern world view operates with a community-based understanding of truth. This world view affirms: “there is no absolute; truth; rather truth is relative to the community in which we participate.”
Isn’t that so true of the world we are living today? Is postmodern thinking affecting our generation today? Just like when you are in the water you can’t help but get wet in the same way we can not but affected by the prevailing postmodern culture. The rise of postmodernism has devastating affects on our families, society and even upon the Church. Its crippling influence through mass media and social media is eroding the moral fabric of our society. You might be experiencing this at work with colleagues’ or within you own family, the moment you speak about God or faith you are met with stiff resistance, lack of openness and even ridicule.
A 2003 survey found that over all belief in God among Americans had dropped significantly; with only 66% feeling certain about it. Astonishingly, 10% of those who call themselves Protestants, 21% of confessing Roman Catholics and 52% who profess to be Jews don’t believe in God. Another 2003 survey revealed that now 60% of all Americans believe that cohabitation is morally acceptable.”
Sex on one’s wedding night has lost its anticipation and wonder for many couples today. The primary reason for couples not “becoming one” physically on their wedding night is cohabitation. This trend is seen not only here but all over
Europe. During my recent trip I met young people who
would wince but don’t blink an eye when it comes to moving in and living
together without ever getting married.
When a society no longer accepts the reality of God is it any wonder we loose the wonder of God and the wonder of the beautiful things that God has created such as sex which is to be enjoyed only in a marriage relationship? How can we regain the wonder of God in our lives? This is where the advice given by one of the youngest friends of Job comes into place.
I. CONSIDER THE WONDERS OF GOD.(Job 37:1-14)
We are familiar with the suffering endured by Job as a result of a challenge posed by Satan. Three of Job’s friends could not convince Job of his error. Seeing their inability the youngest among them stepped up not only to the challenge of convincing Job of his error but also to speak of God’s justice and righteousness. Let’s see what Elihu has to say to Job.
In the first five verses we see the power of God’s thundering voice which Elihu likens to the thunder, and the lightning. V 6-13 shows the absolute command of God over nature and exposes the vulnerability of man over the mighty acts of God. Vs 6“For to the snow he says, “Fall on the earth, and to the downpour and the rain, Be strong.” Vs 7, “He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work.” We know a little bit about what snow storms and blizzards can do. They have the potential to bring a whole city to a complete halt. No administration can stop the snow from falling when it is falling. All we are capable of, perhaps is to do the clean up afterwards
Those who live in
know the devastation of heavy Monsoon rains. A few days back there were heavy
rains in New Delhi,
4 hours of continuous rain has brought the capital to a complete shut down.
People were outraged at the Governments inability to manage this crisis well.
They blamed the Chief Minister for this strong act of God, She responded
saying, “What can I do the weather is not in my control? “Please pray to God to
stop the rain” For mentioning God, the chief minister came under attack by the
secular media and the atheists association.
Rightly so the insurance companies call Earthquakes, Tornadoes, snow blizzards, Tsunamis, floods, “Acts of God.”? We wonder why God allows such things to happen. Elihu has an answer for us, these are sent by God to expose man’s inadequacy so that they might come to know Him and stand in awe of His wonderful works. Vs 13, “whether for correction, or for His world, or for loving kindness He causes it to happen. Therefore Elihu challenges, Job in a way that applies to all of us. Vs 14, Listen to this, (place your name here) stand and consider the wonders of God.”
Whose voice are you listening to today? Is it the voice of the media? Or the voice of the atheists, who say there is no God? The Bible gives them a fancy title, “fools”. Are you listening to the skeptics who ridicule and mock this simple, straightforward faith.? I want to challenge you to listen to the voice of God, if you are still not convinced that God is as wonderful as one of His names suggests read the whole chapter of Job 38-39 where God himself completely overwhelms Job with many questions pertaining to His mighty power.
What I shared with you this morning is only a fraction of the many wonders of God. What more shall I say about many other wonders? Anything not within the compass of reason this world calls crazy. But what do we find in the Bible? A continuous record of happenings which we call supernatural, which can not be fitted into our interpretations of normal cause and effect.
Let me list a few of such supernatural acts of God. Abraham and Sarah have a child when respectively a hundred, and ninety years old; Joseph’s foreknowledge of the future through dreams; Moses bringing plagues on Egypt, crossing of the red sea, bringing of water from a rock and daily manna for over half a million people for a period of 40 years; How about the fall of Jericho’s walls and Daniel spending a night among hungry lions? How about the N.T miracles?
Such as Jesus walking on the water thus counteracting gravity (and Peter doing the same); feeding five thousand with two fish and five loaves; turning water into wine; healing all kinds of diseases, and raising the dead? How about the Apostle Paul; people were healed by his shadow and touching his handkerchiefs? How about Paul raising a dead young man who had fallen from the top floor of a building? What logical explanation you give to these mighty acts of God? If you don’t call these, wonders of God what else will you call wonders?
Stand and consider the wonders of God. In closing I want to echo the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 66:1-5, “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf.”
May the Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.” Amen!
Stanley J. Grenz, A
Primer on Postmodernism, pages 7-8
 James E. White, “Serious Times” page36