“Why should the nations say,
‘Now, where is their God?’
Our God is in the heavens—
All that he delights in, he does.”
Indeed, those who have made gods to worship out of gold and silver do look at us and ask us how we can worship a God that we can neither see nor touch? The psalmist’s reply is an important one. Often, when we are pressed with the same question from a secularist, we retreat and are a bit defensive with our answer. We usually say something to the extent of, “well, it takes faith…” Or, if we are a bit more astute, one of the classic answers that is given is, “you cannot see the wind, but you see the effects of the wind—so it is with the Holy Spirit and with those born again of the Holy Spirit,” making a reference to Jesus’ language before Nicodemus. Yet, there is nothing defensive about the psalmist’s response. The psalmist replies to the question by saying, “Our God is in the heavens and he does all that he pleases.” Do you see what the psalmist is doing here? It is as if the psalmist is saying—you are criticizing me for not having a god made out of metal or stone that I can see, but your gods are inanimate objects—the creation of your own hands—how can I bow down to one who is incapable of answering my prayers? I worship a God who rises high above the heavens—he cannot be constrained by puny things of metal or stone, nor can he even be constrained by the world itself—and all that takes place is a result of my God’s good will. So, who will you worship, the god formed out of the dirt by the sweat of your own brow, or the God who created the dirt and all that is around with but a word of his power. Beloved, statements like this are anything but defensive, they cut to the quick, and address the problem at hand—who is the true God of heaven and earth and what ought to be done with all of the bad imitations?
Loved ones, why are we so often intimidated when people challenge our faith? We know the effect of the hand of God in our own lives, we have seen God’s work in the world, and we know the truth of God that is found preserved for us within the Holy Scriptures. In addition, creation itself testifies to God’s majesty! Where is there room for anything but bold assurance? It is not incumbent upon us to prove to the atheist that God does exist—it is his responsibility to prove that God does not exist if he wants to hold a position that is so contrary to reason and observation. Because we have allowed ourselves to be intimidated by academic degrees and titles, we have allowed unbelievers to turn the tables on us, forcing Christians to swallow lies in the name of “science”—lies that do not even stand up to the secularist’s own scientific methods of scrutiny.
The final statement is also telling for two reasons. First of all, it compliments the previous statement about God in the heavens. We do not worship a God that was like the gods of the Greek philosophers—ones who were transcendent and so separate from the world that they do not act, but only observe—but we worship a God who does act within the realms of men. But what is also important is that not only does God act, he takes pleasure in his acting. We spend a lot of time talking about God’s sovereignty and that he works out all things according to the council of his own will (Ephesians 1:11), but we often neglect the principle that is expressed here—that God does take pleasure in his actions.
Beloved, think on things this way: God is satisfied with himself to such a wonderful degree that all that he thinks and does brings him pleasure. And, to continue the line of thought to its logical end, if God finds his ultimate satisfaction in himself and finds profound pleasure in all that he does, we can find our ultimate satisfaction in Him and pleasure in all that he does in our lives. That is an easy statement to agree with when things are going well, but what about when the world around us seems to be falling apart? Can you affirm, even in the midst of your greatest heartache, that God is still working all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose? Though we may struggle with it, this is exactly how we should be thinking. Our God rules the creation and works out his good pleasure in your life and in mine; let us strive to take our pleasure in the working out of these things by his strong and steady hand—finding our hope and satisfaction in Him and in Him alone.