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Many years ago, when I was teaching high school, one of the songs that my students listened to was called Simple Song, by Hokus Pick Manouver. The recurrent words are: The sky is blue. The grass is green. Simple truth is plainly seen. Don’t get mixed up in between; simple truth is plainly seen. Last week, I said that we have to have faith to believe in God, but this is not a blind faith. Hokus Pick put into a simple, some would even say silly, song, the insight that the Apostle Paul shared in Romans 1:19-20. The proof of God’s existence is all around us.

Think about what is in the world—the creatures of the sea that I mentioned last week, plants and animals of all kinds, not to mention humans. Creation is so intricate, it only makes sense that it has a powerful creator. There is so much order in the natural universe, that logic tells us that it couldn’t be the result of an accident. Personally, I don’t have enough faith to believe that! But it isn’t just the evidence of creation that points us to God. He created us with an innate knowledge of His presence; He formed us to know and worship Him. He also gave us free will. So if we choose to, we can ignore all that is within us and around us that points to Him, and we can go the other direction. We can find other things to worship. And we have. Throughout history humans have worshipped the created instead of the creator. Imagine how that makes God feel!

Even if we are willing though, we cannot know everything there is to know about God. There is enough evidence in creation to know He exists, but there is not enough to know His unending love and the sacrifice of His Son. That is why He has given us His Word, and why He asks those who believe and have personal relationships with Him to share His love with others. We can know God exists by the evidence around us, and we can know what He reveals to us in His Word, and through our communication with Him, but there will still be some things that only God will know. But because of what He has revealed to us, we know that we can trust Him. That’s the kind of faith we have.


Have you ever been scuba diving? I haven’t, and although I know I would find it fascinating, I’m not likely to ever do it. I’m not much of a swimmer, so I don’t think I would ever make it through the necessary training. But I do have friends who scuba dive, and what’s more they take underwater photographs. It is incredible some of the creatures that live far, far under the surface of the water. If you only ever stayed on dry land, you may never see them, and therefore you may never believe that they actually exist. Some people say that seeing is believing, but when it comes to knowing God, believing is seeing. It is only after we believe God is real that He allows us to understand a bit of who He is. We will not understand fully before we see Him face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Therefore we are called to live by faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is being sure that we can have a confident expectation that God will fulfill His promises to us, and knowing that there are things that we can neither see nor understand. Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the Hall of Faith, because the rest of the chapter is a list of faithful men and women from the Old Testament. Think, for example, how Noah must have felt. (Hebrews 11:7) We are not sure exactly how old Noah was when God told him to build an ark, but he was 500 years old in Genesis 5:32. He was 600 when the flood covered the earth. (Genesis 7:6) My guess is that it took quite a bit of time to build the ark to God’s specifications and then to gather all the animals to fill it. It is also possible that he was ridiculed by those around him, or at least misunderstood. In any case, it would have taken great faith to believe that enough rain would come to destroy the whole earth, and here’s the thing: Noah didn’t have a lot of good examples to follow. Noah and his family were singled out from the entire living population as the only ones worth saving. How did Noah learn to have such faith? Surely he understood things that could not be seen.

Today, we are fortunate to have examples of faithfulness written down for us in the Word of God, and if we are willing, we can also see some of the results of that faithfulness. Abraham for example didn’t have the opportunity to see the end result of his obedience to God, (Genesis 11:8-13) but we can. We can also hear lots of stories of present day believers who have witnessed God’s mercy and blessings because they chose to be faithful. 100 Huntley Street, among others, is dedicated to telling these kinds of stories. The task for us is to open our hearts and listen, to believe that there may be more to this world than we can see and understand.


Recently, one of my dear friends from book club sent a note to share her thoughts on the lack of compassion in the world today. She shared a personal example as well as the much more public one of Hurricane Sandy. Both involved desperation and need for people who had done nothing to deserve it, and in both cases, there was room for much more compassion to be shown. Not that there was no compassion at all, but there was not enough to meet the needs. Being compassionate has a price.

Often, in my posts and in my conversations, I have mentioned that Jesus really only had two rules—to love God and to love others. Matthew 22:35-40 tells us that all the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. When we think back to Old Testament Law, we often think of the Ten Commandments, but Jesus’ top two are the essence of all the law handed down from God through Moses. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18) Therefore all the religious experts who challenged Jesus with questions would not only be aware of this, but would have memorized the scriptures that say so. Many of them would have carried these verses in phylacteries that they wore to remind them to keep their religious law.

So it was no surprise that when a religious expert stood up to test Jesus by asking “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, he actually answered his own question by quoting that scripture. (Luke 10:25-28) The expert wasn’t sure he wanted to make such a large commitment, so he decided to see how narrowly he could define the term “neighbour”. (Luke 10:29) In response, Jesus told him the story of The Good Samaritan, (Luke 10:30-37) probably one of the most familiar stories from the Bible. A man walking down a long, steep, narrow, winding road, with lots of places for bandits to hide, is robbed, beaten and left for dead. A priest and later a Levite, two people who would know God’s laws better than most, both crossed the street as they approached the victim to avoid the possibility of becoming ceremonially unclean by touching him. They essentially condemned him to death. Finally a Samaritan came along. Samaritans were despised by the Jews, hated because of their race and because of actions taken by their ancestors generations before. If the victim had been in his right mind, he probably would not have even spoken to the Samaritan. Why should the Samaritan waste his time, and his money, to help this man out? Nevertheless, he did. He carried him to the closest inn and gave the innkeeper the equivalent of two days wages to care for the man. That would have been enough money for about a month’s lodging, but it came with the promise to make up the difference the next time he came by. He would pay whatever it took for the care of this stranger.

Jesus finished the story by rewording the religious expert’s question—not, “who is my neighbour?”, but “which one was a neighbour?” The expert answered, "the one who showed mercy". And like the Samaritan did, Jesus tells us to go and show mercy to those in need. (Luke 10:37) Compassion has a price, and it is inconvenient. Jesus was well aware of that when He told us to love each other. We may not be able to do this in our own strength, but if our hearts are willing to love and obey God, and therefore love others, God will give us eyes to see their needs, and the strength and resources to meet them. (Philippians 4:13)


Sometimes things seem to take so long! And I think that in this age of technology where things happen so much more quickly than ever before, we are no more patient than we were in other generations. Before the invention of the telephone, people used to send messages by courier—on foot, on horseback, perhaps by boat. Depending on the distance, it might take hours, days or months to get a message to someone. Now we don’t even like to use a phone that is attached to a wall, or even that restricts us to staying in a building, if we can help it. And we complain if we have to wait more than a minute or two for anything.

The time span between the Old Testament and the New Testament is 400 years without recorded prophecies from God. That’s a long time to wait for a message! Just before the beginning of those 400 years, in Malachi 4:1-2, we are told that the day is coming when all evildoers will be burned as chaff, but that those who respect the name of the Lord will be vindicated and will be free and happy. Then God tells us that He will send the prophet Elijah to encourage both adults and children to return to Him before the day of judgement comes. (Malachi 4:5-6)

So imagine hearing that news at the time of Malachi and then not getting any updates for 400 years. Generations of people have come and gone, and there was still no news on when this vindication would be implemented. I wonder how many people gave up waiting for the Messiah, and for Elijah to come. I wonder how many stopped believing in God. I’m sure there were many, but there were also some who continued to teach their children God’s ways. (Deuteronomy 6)

In Luke 1:16-17, the spirit and the power of Elijah did return in the person of John the Baptizer. John’s purpose was still the same as prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6. To prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah to come by turning the people back to God. We are still waiting for the day of judgement to come. While we wait, what are we teaching our children? Are we still teaching them the commandments, statutes and ordinances of God? (Deuteronomy 6:1-3) Do they see us living in a way that demonstrates what we say we believe? Or are we becoming lax? Are we getting forgetful as we wait? If we do not teach this generation of children the ways of God, who will teach the next?