#395: Fingerprints: Conflict

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Reflections by the Pond
May 18, 2009


Everything on this earth points us to God. This is God's creation, and when He had made it, He declared it "good."

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1:31

We are surrounded by that goodness, a creation saturated with the personality of God, and we need not look far to discover something that points us to Him. The current CEO of the world's system, however, is not the Lord God, but every believer's adversary: Satan.

God made the land mass we refer to as The United States of America. It is part of His creation, and His fingerprints can be found everywhere from Maine to California, from North Dakota to Texas. But this land mass is governed by the laws of a federal government, as well as the laws of each individual state.

Just so, God made all of the earth. It is His creation. But the societies dwelling upon it are currently being "ruled" by Satan. Wrapped over God's good creation like a heavy woolen blanket on a hot August day, the system devised by its temporary ruler does its best to insulate us from our connection with God.

And [Satan] led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."

Luke 4:5-6

For the believer, Satan's influence only dulls the senses, but for the one who does not yet know God through Christ, those senses that might discover God in His creation have been utterly blocked by the "god of this world."

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

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For those who know Him, every situation, every experience either draws us closer to God or tugs us away from Him. Thus our sovereign God remains central to our lives, for even when the believer follows after the siren call of the adversary, a part of him is thinking of his God.

For the believer, everything in this world—good or bad, righteous or unrighteous—leads, inevitably, to this world's Creator. When we witness from afar the cruel and insidious machinations of the world's system, we are overwhelmed with revulsion, and pity for those who subscribe to it. For we subscribe to a better way. The glaring inadequacies of Satan's way cause us to tighten our grip on the lifeline of God's holy word.

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.
They stand this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things are Your servants.
If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have revived me.
I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
The wicked wait for me to destroy me;
I shall diligently consider Your testimonies.

Psalms 119:89-95

But even when we pay heed to that siren song, when we give in to the darker cravings of our lingering flesh, the indwelling Spirit ensures that we will not have peace in our sin.

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.

Psalms 32:3-4

Because the Holy Spirit is a permanent connection to our heavenly Father, the spiritually minded believer will see God in every sorrow or joy, every crisis or time of peace, every moment of temptation or victory. We will find and experience God when the world's system surrounds and invades us, as well as when we seek Him in the quietude of the sylvan glen.

And though He does not sanction our transgressions, we can discover our gracious God even there as His Spirit quickens our regret and confession, and His forgiveness leads us back onto the path of righteousness.

Thus we live by the sometimes-painful truth that we cannot hide in our sin. Since there is no place God is not, He will find us even there. He will take us by the hand and draw us back to His way.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

Psalms 139:7-12

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The truth is that while God dwells in His world He is separated from it by a gulf forever impassable. However closely He may be identified with the work of His hands, they are and must eternally be other than He, and He is and must be antecedent to and independent of them. He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them.

What does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here. No point is nearer to God than any other point. It is exactly as near to God from any place as it is from any other place. No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person.

A. W. Tozer