The Tangible God
“The other disciples therefore said unto him, we have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25).
There is an innate nature in man that seeks God. But to many, God is too abstract and ‘up there’. He is too far away, unseen, untouchable and unknown. Man is looking for something tangible, something concrete enough, that can be seen or touched; something real or physical. He is looking for something he can feel and relate with to give him a sense of worship and devotion, not just to believe that he is there. That is when man’s worship is gratified with a sense of fulfillment.
Consequently, he looks for something tangible to represent the intangible God. Something he can connect with in his heart in worship. This has led man, over the ages, to make images or representations in various forms, visible or invisible, living or non-living, to fill this gap of connection. This is the beginning of religion and it is what man erroneously calls faith or belief in God.
This object of connection has become elaborate in the last days so much so that it has become the religion that an average believer grows to know as Christianity. Their faith and their connection to God become real when there’s an object to connect with. It gives them a feeling of God’s presence and consequently, their faith in God towards their expectations rises.
While to many, the object is anything tangible, specifically to several others, it is someone, often, a religious leader, many of whom have become gravitational ‘objects’. They pull people together to connect them to God in the name of religion, program, service or worship. They stand as the umpire between man and God. They are in turn rewarded by success in their religious career and fulfillment of personal visions. Whereas, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Tim 2:5).
When we seek for something other than faith to connect to, in order to have a sense of service for God, or we desire to worship God in a form other than in Spirit and in truth, we end up worshipping idols, sincerely. Jesus said: “The hour cometh, and now is, when the TRUE worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24).
Faith and Religion
Service to God and worship of Him in Spirit and in truth is so abstract and intangible. It can only be done by faith. Faith in itself is also very abstract. It needs substance and evidence. To many, the substance and evidence of faith has become faith itself, but it is only an ingredient to make faith alive. In the same way, objects or people who are supposed to be a means or ingredients have become reality. They can be the vehicle, not the destination. A ladder to God is not God. When the means to God is confused with God, it is religion.
Religion is the way man has devised to worship and serve God. Satan is the author of all religions, and consequently, no religion leads to God. This is the more reason why Christianity is not a religion and why God is not the author of Christianity.
Faith, on the other hand, is the way God has given man to worship and serve Him. But man sees that believing that God exists, without anything tangible to connect to, is too abstract to comprehend. So, there is a natural regression to religion, which is more tangible, physical, gratifying and offers activities that the flesh can relate with. That is what man wants.
After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to some. “Thomas, one of the twelve, who was called the Twin, wasn't with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”(John 20:25).
Thomas wanted something tangible before he could believe that Christ had indeed risen from the dead. So do many today. Jesus appeared and said to him: "Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, but believe." Thomas answered him, saying "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:27-28).
We can only relate with God through faith in Christ, not by any tangible means. If we seek that, we will miss it. We will end up worshipping objects or means. It can be people, denominations, organizations, systems or anything we can see, feel, touch and relate with to give us that sense of fulfillment. The only means available to us today is faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6).
When Thomas believed after seeing Jesus, Jesus said to him, "Is it because you have seen me that you have believed? How blessed are those who have never seen me and yet have believed!" (John 20: 29).
Thomas’ disbelief is a totally different account to peoples’ disbelief today. If this is the stage believers today are, it will be pardonable because Jesus will eventually reveal Himself to them as He did to Thomas. But when He reveals Himself, people will still not believe. They want something more dynamic, more supernatural and more tangible.
Prophet Elijah was looking for God to appear in a supernatural way. Suddenly, a powerful, “…great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD.” He knew surely the presence of the Lord was there, “…but the LORD was not in the wind.” After a while, an earthquake erupted and rent the air, “…but the LORD was not in the earthquake.” Again, came fire from heaven, “… but the LORD was not in the fire.” (1Kings 19:11-12) Elijah lost his enthusiasm. How else could the Lord appear to anyone again? He must have felt rejected, thinking perhaps, God had abandoned him. But in his soberness, the Lord came in a still small voice. He almost missed it. “In quietness and confidence shall thy strength be” (Isa 30:15).
How many of such great manifestations have we experienced in our meetings and we say “Surely, the presence of God is here?” Samuel made the same mistake when he saw Eliab. He said: Surely the LORD'S anointed was before him. “But the LORD said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1Sam 16:6-7).
Indeed, man looks for manifestations! Do we not look for God where there is a crowd, miracles, healings, breakthroughs, music, manifestations, activities, etc? But God works in simplicity. We cannot know Him by feelings or observations, but by His Spirit alone. He chose to be born in a manger by a teenage mother and carpenter father, in a remote village. He could have been born into the palace of Caesar or the house of the high priest and, if it had been so, people were likely to have believed Him. He could have chosen doctors, lawyers or Pharisees as disciples, but He chose unlettered fishermen.
When Jesus resurrected, He could have revealed Himself at the top of the temple to all Jews, or appeared in the palace of Herod or Pilate. But He revealed Himself to a woman and trusted her to give the news to His disciples. We rarely find God in places we look for Him the most. When such places are popular, it is an indication that perhaps, God is not there! When such objects are popular and people gravitate towards them, it is an indication that it is perhaps, not of God. God works in utter simplicity. It is human to look for God where thousands are gathered, rather than where two or three are gathered. Only those who have His Spirit can see His operations.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). It is not confessing our desires, or what we want; it is standing on the promises of God. When God hasn’t promised anything, where is the place of faith? Our faith must not be in faith, things, objects or people, but in God and His promises.
Faith is the compass to lead us back home. It is abstract in nature because it is not earthly. It is the only vehicle and ladder man needs to get to God. Without faith, we cannot get to God. It cannot be grasped, held or seen; yet it exists. But man is looking for something tangible: something he can hold, see or connect with. So the concept of faith is grossly abused by even so-called faith preachers.
We often attribute God’s presence to places where there are emotional expressions, emotions, sensations, sentiments or feelings. In many of such places, when nothing supernatural seems to occur and people’s moods are not lifted, there is a resort to hype, to provoke or incite, to let it loose. The ripple effect brings the desired result. People are gratified with a sense of worship through the exercise.
But God is not an emotional God. He loves and accepts our expressions, but not as worship. Worship is in spirit and in truth. We may roll, shout, jump or dance in circles, but He looks at our hearts, not our display. God does not watch over our emotions but over His words. (Jer 1:12; Eze 12:25).
We must be careful not to mistake expressions as the presence of the Holy Spirit. Expression is not reality, but reality always comes with expression. For instance, speaking in tongues does not mean the presence of the Holy Spirit, but when the Holy Spirit is present, tongues is an evidence (Acts 2:4; Acts 19:2-6; Acts 10:44-46). We may display outward expression of joy in the Holy Spirit by any means, but the real joy is inner, not the expression. When it is the other way round, it is not in faith.
There can be much singing, dancing, shouting, etc, but the Holy Spirit may not be present. But when the Holy Spirit is present, these expressions may be found. We must not, therefore institutionalize expressions as God’s presence.
We have grown with the traditional belief that the more this is done in a meeting, the more there is God’s presence. We must run away from religious deception. Unfortunately, this is the basis of many denominational doctrines, many of which have been elevated to the state of ‘thus saith the Lord,’ and it becomes denominational practices. Observance of such is Christianity to many. This is not supposed to be.
Many have mistaken singing worship songs as worship itself. During such time, there are many expressions. More often than not, these are organized therapeutic experiences, administered by paid professionals who are skilled in leading people to the ‘presence of God’. This is often with the professionalism of instrumentalists. It doesn’t matter whether or not they have a relationship with Jesus as long as they can provide real experience of worship in an emotionally soaked and religiously charged atmosphere. As long as the right music is overlaid with the right motivational words, cushioned by delicate sound innuendo to create an emotional feeling in people, God is present.
It is appalling but a reality, that music is one of the first investments of any church in order to attract people. An atmosphere of praise and worship must be created to lead congregants into God’s presence in order to make them feel good, high, heavenly, and godly. It is a religious tonic, good for soul stability but has no semblance of spirituality.
God is not a feeling; He is reality. Feelings are deceptive. We may feel high for a while during this period and the reality of our lives is suspended, but returns after a while, when the effect of the ‘therapy’ fizzles out. It is a placebo after all; a palliative, make-belief medication administered on people to make them feel good. This time, it is a religious medication.
The presence of God is only brought by His Spirit in us and we do not need to charge the Holy Spirit before we feel His presence. He is not the God that only responds to sound, drums, guitars, keyboards or sonorous voices. These are not bad on their own; they are tools and must be seen as such. With or without them, the presence of God must be real in us, even in our sleep. He never sleeps, He never slumbers. He doesn’t need to be woken up or warmed up through praise and worship. He doesn’t need to be appeased with dance, shout or loud voice. He is the same, with or without them. While these things are not wrong on their own, they do not make us more or less acceptable to God.
Prophet Elijah gave enough time for the prophets of Baal to ‘charge’ their god and wake him up. He told them to cry louder, shout more so that he can hear. “Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakened. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.” (1Kings 18:27-29).
While we may not get to this extreme in our meetings, some of our expressions are no less than that. The truth is that when anyone feels high, the gutter may look like a bed to the person. The prophets may not feel pain as they cut themselves, just like many don’t feel pain when consumed by religious ecstasy until the placebo thaws out and reality hits.
While a militant approach to prayer is not wrong in itself, but it must be known that the exercise is not the reality. In most meetings, the exercise is mistaken for the prayer. Jesus said: “When you pray, go to your closet, the God that sees you in secret…” (Mat 6:6). But the underlining factor of this is that we feel a sense of satisfaction when we engage in such an exercise and we are gratified, whereas, God looks at the heart. Our heart must be praying to God, not only our mouths. (1Sam 1:9-15).
God creates us into different cultures to give praises and worship to Him. But we cannot substitute our cultural practices for the worship of God. It’s a vehicle. We cannot allow the cultural spirit or our personal feelings to possess and lead us to God’s presence. We cannot allow our soul to be ushered in to God’s presence through orchestrated orgy and reveling, influenced by strange dances that gratify only the flesh.
How can we be devils at the entrance of the church, but suddenly we become spiritual when our soul is charged in songs and we return to be devils when we leave? These are mere soul and physical manifestations, but God is Spirit. True worship is from our inside. As spirit beings, we relate with God spirit to spirit, not soul to soul. Soulish things belong to the devil.
When we are financially or religiously committed or involved in certain activities, especially when we participate in, give or contribute to the cause of God, there is a sense of satisfaction that fills our heart. But many times, such actions do not flow from our being as worship to God, but as a religious responsibility to a taskmaster, without which the consequence can be fatal. So we serve Him to appease Him and so He can bless us. This is not the service God require from us.
As wonderful and noble as giving to the cause of God is, you don’t have to be a born again believer or know Christ to do it. We may even build a supposed house of God and orphanage, but that doesn’t mean service to God. It is not even close to religion. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27). It is more of charity than the Gospel. Our utmost service is to give ourselves wholly as a living sacrifice to God. (Rom 12:1). This has to be done in faith, not feelings. God desires us more than our service.
The challenge of faith is that it offers no gratification for the flesh, yet, the flesh desires to have that sense and feeling of gratification. We must not fulfill its desires by giving it what it wants like Eve did. (Rom 8:8; Gal 5:17, Gal 6:8).
Easy but not Real
It is very easy to believe an acrobat on the altar if he parades the gifts of the spirit. It is easy to identify and belong to a gathering where the music is loud and emotions are high during service. It is easy to give money to build a church for God even though the true church cannot be seen or joined. It is easy to trust in the prayer of an anointed man of God than to personally come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in times of need. It is easy to cast out demons with a loud voice, sweat and professional display of power, than to just speak a word and believe it is done. It is easy to box and punch a demon or pray in tongues over the microphone than to quietly speak a word to a situation. It is easy to see more of what the enemy is doing than what God is doing. It is also easy to spend hours praying for lost glory than to praise and worship God for won victories.
Those may be easier but not real. If we are looking for someone or something tangible to represent God, we will enter the snare of religion. No one has preferential access to God than others. We are all children of God and He loves us equally. He bids us all to “Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16). We must not trust in a man to come to Him on our behalf when we can do so ourselves. He may return to tell us God asked us to perform a sacrifice other than ourselves before he blesses us. Many have been destroyed with such strange and bizarre requests.
When we offer God anything other than ourselves and faith, it is appeasement. The true God does not receive such appeasement. There is another god “that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thess 2:4).
Objects like ‘anointing’ oil, mantle, etc., do not seem to do the magic for people any more like it used to. That era seems to have gone. It has been over used and many victims are no are longer caught in that trap. Followers are getting wiser, so also leaders. But people still desire a tangible God, so there will always be a devious solution.
Serious believers must run away from leaders who use various objects as prayer contacts to receive blessings and miracles from God for them. It should be easy to know which God would require such things from people. But because gullible people are looking for something tangible, in their desperation and spiritual indolence, they fall into soulish traps.
When Jesus revealed Himself to Thomas, he believed. If He reveals Himself to many believers today, they will still ask Jesus to give them something to hold on to. We are looking for something like Simon who asked Peter to give him something to use to also heal people, rather than to receive Jesus and speak by faith. (Acts 8:17-22).
Despite the fact that Jesus had been with the disciples for a while, Philip said to Jesus “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” (John 14:8). Those who had the Father asked for something more. Those who had Jesus wanted more and those who have the Holy Spirit are looking for something more. As long as we are looking for something more, we will miss God. Jesus is enough.
When God revealed Himself to Israel in the wilderness, they said His presence was too blinding. They requested Moses to relate with God and come back to relate with them. They eventually frustrated Moses to a fit of anger, a man called the meekest man on earth. First, he broke the Ten Commandments with his own hands. Lastly, he struck the rock to give Israel water, when he was instructed to point to it. That Rock was Christ. He missed the Promised Land because of that action.
Faith is just to trust and obey, but Religion is to do.
God did not give us religion; He gave us a person. He did not give us Christianity; He gave us His Son. Jesus did not give us a system; He gave us Himself. We are not to give Him anything other than ourselves. It takes a man who knows how to swim, not a system, to rescue a drowning man. It takes a man that knows the way, not a program, to lead a lost man home. God gave us His Son to save us from destruction and lead us back home. It is not to give us prosperity, blessings, miracles or breakthroughs. Jesus should not be used for those things.
Jesus came to deliver our souls from eternal perdition, not to give us bread and butter that perish. Jesus said: “For after all these things do the Gentiles seek… but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” (Matt 6:32-33). If we come to Christ on the basis of receiving these things, we have received a false Jesus.
What do these things mean to a dying man? How many of them would he take with him to the grave? Would God ever ask any man in heaven how successful he was on earth and how many breakthroughs he got? Would God ask about the success of ‘our’ ministry or the empire we acquired through it? A dying man needs only one thing: assurance of eternity. A lost man needs only one thing: the way back home.
As lost pilgrims, our joy must be in the fact that the benevolent Father found us through His Son in the jungle of earth and He is taking us back home. Everything we take along with us on the journey is junk and has no value compared to the eternal and incorruptible things our Father has in store for us in heaven (John 14:3). All other things are excess weights and they encumber our journey. Can all the treasures in the world be compared to the unimaginable treasure of heaven, where God is, where the streets alone are made of pure gold that has no equal on earth?
But when we see the havoc one strange ‘apple’ wreaked in the Garden that is full of surplus fruits from the Tree of Life, we can understand why men, though saved from the world, still desire the prosperity of the world. To many, that is the evidence of their salvation or knowing God.
The world belonged to Satan, including all its prosperities. He offered it all to Jesus in the wilderness on a platter of gold at the cost of just a bow, (a harmless thing to do). But because salvation is not about what we do, but what God did, Jesus refused him. Are we not giving him harmless service to get what we desire?
Only faith in Jesus saves, not with any other thing. Man shall not live by bread alone (physical) but by every word (spiritual) from God. Today, man still prefers bread to the Word of God. Gatherings are filled to capacity by bread eaters not by God seekers.
Thousands gathered for Jesus and were desperate to make Him king by force. Jesus told them they wanted to make Him king, not because of the word they heard the other day, but because of the bread they ate. He said from then, there was no bread to eat but His flesh. Everyone left, including His disciples (not the twelve) John 6:19-26.
If all the props through which people stand to connect to God were removed, and they had to stand in faith to connect to God, would there still be Christians?
Human Substitute In situations where leaders have become God, Jesus and Holy Spirit to people, do people have direct relationship with God again? A true leader is a full servant. He feeds the people, not milk them. He lays down his life for the people, not make them human shields. He doesn’t ask the people to believe God for protection when he goes in armored tanks and police escorts. He doesn’t ask people to give all they have while he uses it to build personal empires in the name of God. But he loves the people to the point of laying down his life in death for them. He doesn’t relate with people remotely. Jesus sat with the people, ate with them, identified with them and it was difficult to distinguish Him from among His disciples, whom he called friends.
When Moses went up the mountain and didn’t return on time, the Israelites asked Aaron to make a golden calf for them so that they would see the God that brought them out of Egypt. Aaron obeyed and said to them: “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4). Blessed are those, who, without seeing, believe!
Don’t we all have a golden calf that we use to represent God? Anointing oil, mantles, altars, denominations, buildings and even leaders!
Israel was afraid of war in the wilderness. They wanted food, water and to get to the Promised Land quickly. But God wanted them to believe that He was with them even when they didn’t see Him. He told them, if they believed, angels would fight their wars, God would be their King, they would get to the Promised Land in forty days, eat heavenly food (manna) and drink water from the rock. But they did not believe; they murmured and rebelled against God and wanted to return to Egypt.
Because of unbelief, they got to Promised Land in forty years instead of forty days. And none of the generation that left Egypt was alive to witness it. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb 3:19). “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb 4:11).
God is Spirit and everything of God is spirit: His worship, His church, His service, etc. It takes a spiritual man to see what He is doing. The natural man cannot see spiritual things because he is looking for something tangible.
The Church of God is spiritual. It cannot be seen, joined or founded. That is too abstract for man to comprehend, so man makes the building the church. Often we hear the expression, “That is my church.” “I am going to church.” “We are building our church.” But nobody can see The Church, let alone join or build it. Only Jesus builds His church and it is a spiritual building. But man needs something visible to represent something invisible, so buildings become the church.
We can say the same about salvation and ministry. Nobody can see either, but we can see its fruits in the lives of people, but we want a physical representation anyway. Salvation is so abstract that many feel there should be more to do aside from just believing. When the rich ruler asked Jesus what more to do to be saved, He told him to simply follow Him. Just trust and obey. That deflated his quest for activity.
In the quest for something more to do or feel, a sign or just something extraordinary to confirm salvation, many have slipped from saving faith to performance. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is so abstract, yet so true. The outward fruits confirm the inner touch. God operates from in to out, not from out to in; from our hearts to our actions.
But because people want to see or do something to gratify their self of salvation or service to God, leaders have devised many things to fill the quest. In doing such things, many have a sense of salvation and working for God.
Ministry in today’s concept is the labor of man to have a sense of being busy for God and doing something that can be seen in response to the call. But the truth is that we are the ministry. When we minister according to the grace of God in our lives, we express ministry. It is not a place with signposts, furniture, activities, etc. We cannot begin or launch it; we can only express it. It is the grace of God IN OUR LIVES which is expressed in our talk, walk, actions, inactions, etc. We cannot leave our ministry in a city or commit it to the hands of people while we go somewhere or do something else. Even when we sleep, it is with us.
We cannot use people to build our ministry, which is the popular concept; we rather use our ministry to build people. If there is any place a signpost should be put about our ministry, it is on our foreheads, if that is necessary. We point to buildings as the church of God, but we are The Church. When individual members of the body of Christ come together anywhere, they express The Church. We decorate the altar as the temple, but we are the temple. When we open our mouths to share, the grace of God is perceived in us, that is ministry.
Denominations, organizations and empires being built by man are not ministries, they are the evidence of what man can do. What man can do is the greatest obstacle to what God wants to do.
Rituals and Formulas
Since many Christian leaders are primarily seen as problem solvers, a sort of prescription is always expected from them during consultations which people will follow religiously. The faith of many is hinged on something to do, other than a personal relationship with Christ, which is too abstract.
When God healed a man in Lystra through the ministry of Barnabas and Paul, people brought goats and bulls to sacrifice for them, thinking they were gods. But Paul and Barnabas forbade them, saying, “We also are men like you…” (Acts 14:14-15). Today, some demand for such ‘ gifts’ in the name of a laborer being worthy of his wages.
Many are not satisfied when they are not asked to bring or do something to connect to a miracle. Telling them to go back home, to pray and trust God for an answer is too abstract and simple. But when they are instructed to wake up in the middle of the night at a specific time, naked, roll on the floor seven times, jump up twenty one times, shout twenty seven times and chant some bible verses seventy times, they believe and they do. Their faith is not in God, but in actions; something to do. But that is a ritual before God. Faith is the only acceptable way to God. “By works shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God, but the just shall live by faith” (Rom 3:20; Gal 3:11).
Because leaders are seen as the ones close to God, they are required to develop some formulas and guidelines to help those who are too busy to have a personal relationship with God to serve Him. As long as there is something to do, they will do it and it will take the religious burden and guilt away from people and give them a sense of fulfillment for serving God. So, formulas and ‘order of service’ to use in meetings, prayer, bible study and other programs are designed to assist. They no longer need to wait on God by faith, which is too abstract. God can speak through the leaders in a tangible voice and not in a still small voice that will be too small to hear. But formulas can be used as prescribed. But God is looking for relationship, not formulas and that comes with a price.
Even among those who claim to worship the true God, there is still a remote desire for tangibility in them. They look for something to connect with, something to give an assurance of their devotion to God. They look for substance of worship so they can know for sure that they have worshiped.
Adam and Eve were fulfilled with the communion they had with God in the cool of the day, spirit to spirit. God also was. That is still God’s original plan for us. But when a ‘friend’ from beyond the Garden came calling and introduced them to a new communion of activity rather than an abstract fellowship with God, spirit to spirit, they tried it and Eve loved it. They fell by it.
Man also has the same desire and it has led to the introduction of many ‘strange fires’ in our meetings and gatherings in order to justify our sense of ‘service’ and worship. We want to have tangibility; therefore, worship is converted to song and dance. But we must come to Him by faith, not by works.
Israel under Samuel also demanded God to give them a king so that they could be ‘like other nations’ around them. They were tired of God (who they couldn’t see) being their King and Judge. They wanted a king they could see. Samuel was very sad with that decision, but the Lord said to Samuel: “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them… however, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” (1Sam 8:7-9).
The verses that follow tell of the terrible behavior of the king who would reign over Israel: “…he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them, … he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards … He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.” (1Sam 8:14-17).
Despite the warnings and the dangers of that request, they still desired a king. They were looking for a tangible God, just like believers in the last days. Individuals choose leaders suitable for their needs; those who would preach “…cunningly devised fables and peace, when destruction lies at the door” (2Tim 4:3-5; 1Thes 5:3). They in turn fulfill the characteristics the chosen king would exhibit; yet they gravitate towards them in droves.
Believers desire to worship and serve God, but are not ready to pay the price – Faith. They are seeking for God’s blessings through objects and people. We only get to God and please Him by faith. The blessing is for those who without seeing, believe.
Do you believe because you see? If so, you have believed a tangible God, the god of things, a mere idol. Blessed are those who without seeing, believe! He who has an ear, let him ear what the Spirit says to the churches.”