Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Can God Get Your Attention?

Many people today believe that they are inaccessible to God, and that consequently they can live in defiance of God. Such beliefs are common to people who think nothing of God and yet are highly successful in life, whose lives are one big party of defiance.

Rembrandt - Belshazzar's Feast
The reasoning goes, “Since I have avoided God thus far, I will certainly avoid him for the rest of my life. I can continue to live my way, and there’s not a thing God can do to reach me.”

History teaches us the error of such thinking.

Unconventional Means to Reach Defiant, Inaccessible People

The Bible records the account of Ancient Babylon’s last king, Belshazzar, in Daniel chapter 5. Belshazzar thought he was invincible to his enemies, and inaccessible to God. To show his confidence, on a night when he and his commanders knew the Medo-Persian army was attacking the almost impenetrable fortified city of Babylon, Belshazzar threw caution to the wind and had a huge party instead of strategizing his counter attack against the enemy. He and his wives, concubines, and guests are in a drunken melee when the Bible says, “In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” (Dan. 5:5) Belshazzar thinks the walls of Babylon are impenetrable, and that he as the king is inaccessible. Not so. Not to the hand of God.

God had a message to get across to Belshazzar. He didn’t choose to send a prophet to announce it. He didn’t choose to send an angel to announce it. He chose to send a hand to write this message: a rather bizarre and unconventional means! Notice that the hand wrote in a place that Belshazzar would not miss it, where there was plenty of light: opposite the lampstand, on the plaster of the wall. The location of the writing was strategic enough to arrest the attention of a drunk man. God is never left short of creative means of getting the attention of people who think they are invincible and inaccessible.

But can God still get the attention of people today in the same way?

All you have to do is consider places of the world where people have defied God and shut up themselves to His Word, banning the Bible and killing Christians. God is using unconventional means of getting the message of the Jesus Christ His Son across to such people. For example, many Muslims in the Middle East attest to the fact that, having been closed to Christ and the Gospel in their waking hours, God has reached them with dreams and visions of Christ in their sleeping hours. God has gotten their attention even though they have defied Him, and many Muslims in the Middle East have turned to Christ because He has shown Himself to them in their dreams.[1]

If you are someone who avoids or defies God, know that He has revealed Himself generally in all of Creation and in history; more specifically in His Word (the Bible); and finally, and most specifically, in His Son, Jesus Christ. But if you continue to resist God, He will resort to whatever means necessary to get your attention, as He did with Belshazzar. And very often, those means will jolt you out of your feelings of invincibility and inaccessibility, and it may be too late.

Unconventional Means that cause Uncontrollable Fear

As he sees this hand writing on the wall Belshazzar begins to lose it! The Bible says, “Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.” (Dan. 5:6) The color runs out of his face, he is deeply troubled, and when it says that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other, many believe this is a euphemism for incontinence. In other words, he was so fearful that he could not control the outflow of all the liquid he had put into himself! God really sobered up this drunk man. God struck such a fear into his heart that his defiance disappeared and it was replaced by distress of heart.

The ability of God to cause powerful rulers to tremble in fear was not limited to ancient times. In 1812, when Napoleon’s French army was set to attack Russia, the then Czar of Russia, godless Alexander I, was suddenly caused to fear God. Alexander I was so vile that he fired the present archbishop of the Orthodox church, and appointed a man as vile as he was as the new Archbishop, in hope of getting some support for his wickedness. Astoundingly, when the Archbishop took office, God got ahold of him and he gave his life to Christ. God was beginning to get the Czar’s attention but it was not enough. So here you have Moscow surrounded by Napoleon’s Army, its spires now ablaze. Defeat is inevitable. Czar Alexander I, now desperate, enters a church in St. Petersburg. He who was vile and godless falls on his face before God, pleading for the deliverance of his nation. In answer to this repentant ruler, God immediately sends the severe Russian winter, causing Napoleon’s army to retreat.

Why Wait?

Can God get your attention? He certainly can. But why wait until God causes something terrible to arrest your attention? The reason God wishes to get your attention is because He desires that you have eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Today, and right now, you have all of God’s attention. He hears you. If you sense your defiance of God, and your need for forgiveness of sins and the granting of a new life, call out to God and tell Him you believe in His Son, Jesus. He will come to you, forgive you, and bring you into a personal relationship with Himself. You will then have access to Him, and He will have access to you.

© Kenny Damara, 2017

[1] Trousdale, Jerry. Miraculous Movements. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012.

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