Pagan Ideas of God

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Micah 7:15-20


I.         Through the ages man has had difficulty grasping the concept of God

            A.        As Christians, we understand that God is a Spirit - John 4:24

            B.        But for the common man, without the knowledge of the Scriptures, that idea is too vague. So God is remade in their mind in a form they can grasp - Romans 1:20-23

            C.        Often these men projected their own ideas and abilities onto their gods – just in a magnified way.

                        1.         When people get mad, they sometimes stomp their feet or throw things.

                        2.         When a god gets mad, he shakes the earth with quakes and throws lightening bolts

II.        The pagans saw gods as limited beings. Their limits may be less than man, but they were still limited.

            A.        Benhadad, king of Aram decided it was time to expand his territory.

                        1.         At the time, Israel under king Ahab had been paying tribute to Aram.

                        2.         Benhadad decided to strip Samaria - I Kings 20:5-6

                        3.         God sent a prophet to Ahab, telling him to refuse - I Kings 20:13

                        4.         Benhadad was so certain of a victory, that he was celebrating before the battle even began - I Kings 20:16

                        5.         A small army of 7,000 came at the kings - I Kings 20:19-21

                        6.         It was decided that war needed to be moved to a place where the Israelite God could not reach - I Kings 20:23-25

                        7.         Again the two forces faced off - I Kings 20:26-27

                        8.         Just to prove His power, God again gave Ahab the victory - I Kings 20:28-30

            B.        Balak wanted the children of Israel cursed

                        1.         Sacrifices were prepared, but instead of a curse, the prophet gave a blessing - Numbers 22:41-23:2, 7-8

                        2.         Yet the second attempt ended up like the first - Numbers 23:11-14

                        3.         The third attempt brought an even greater blessing - Numbers 23:25-30

            C.        Jonah thought the same way, thinking he could run from God - Jonah 1:3

                        1.         God sent him to a very out of the way place - the belly of a great fish – to learn there is no place that God is not there

            D.        Israel wanted God to help in their struggles against the Philistines.

                        1.         They thought they could carry God into battle and He would cause them to triumph - I Samuel 4:3

                        2.         But God cannot be made to obey the plans of man - I Samuel 4:10-11

III.       People act as if God is limited

            A.        Sinners believe the darkness hides their acts - Isaiah 29:15

            B.        No darkness can hide us from God - Job 34:21-23

            C.        Even the things hidden in our hearts will be revealed - I Corinthians 4:5

IV.      Christians sometimes fall in the trap of thinking God is limited

            A.        They are pious in the building, but they act as if God doesn’t notice or care when they are at home or at work

                        1.         God doesn’t miss a thing - Matthew 10:29

            B.        Some Christians become upset that after they become a child of God, their problems do not disappear

                        1.         This happened in Jeremiah’s time. The people had been sacrificing to idols. Jeremiah told them it was wrong and that they would go into captivity for their sins. The people stopped the sacrifices, but the punishment continued - Jeremiah 44:15-19

                                    a.         They were in trouble because of their idol worship, but since the trouble did not stop when the worship stopped, the people decided it was because they stopped.

                                    b.         Worse, they decided the original problems were because they were not doing the idol worship correctly.

                                    c.         It did not go the way “I” expected, so therefore “I” will make some changes.

                        2.         I have known Christians who have given up on God when they found out that after becoming a Christian they still had money problems, their marital problems still existed, their problems with alcohol or drugs still plagued them.

            C.        Pagans believe there is a direct cause-and-effect between the life lived and punishment earned - Acts 28:4-6

                        1.         Their quick change of mind – from a murderer to a god – is almost amusing.

                        2.         Yet, how often have Christians despaired when life becomes hard and say that God is punishing me unfairly. We need to learn the patience of Job.

                        3.         The world has not been perfect since the sin of Adam and Eve. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Random events does not reflect the thinking of God.

            D.        Pagans panic easily - Jeremiah 10:2

                        1.         Christians need to learn not to follow the crowd. - Exodus 23:2

V.        Pagan beliefs still fill our society in many ways and forms.

            A.        We cannot let those beliefs change our view of the God who created us and more than we know.

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