I AM THANKFUL TODAY that God interacts with us as he governs the world. He responds to us with blessing or discipline or help, based on what we do. He also does this with individuals, groups (such as churches) and nations. This is true whether or not we recognize it happening. The Bible is chalk full of this revelation and believing otherwise leads to practical atheism – living as if there is no God.
I saw this again as I read 1 Kings 8. Solomon, the wisest man in the world you’ll remember, is praying to God as he dedicates the temple. Half way through his dedication Solomon asks God to interact with his nation and the people’s behaviour. He asks that when one “wrongs his neighbour” (vs 31-32) God would condemn the guilty and vindicate the innocent. Then he lists specific occasions when he wants God to do this with the nation. “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and give praise to your name…, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors” (vs 33-34). He goes on to cite many more of these requests.
Importantly and wisely, Solomon goes on to express why God should interact with us based on our behaviour: “(D)eal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart) so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors” (vs 39-40). If God does not respond to our behaviours why should we love him or respect him or be in awe of him? He would be irrelevant. He becomes very relevant and very wonderful if he constantly interacts with us.
If there is one thing the Bible makes very clear, in both Old and New Testaments, it is that God interacts with us (individuals, groups, and nations) based on our behaviour. We take him very lightly when we don’t think so. And we suffer the consequences.