Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Do You Believe in God?

Why do you believe in God?  I don't know if you have been asked this question recently, but it is a question that Helene and I both get asked fairly frequently.  There are many reasons that I do, but today I would like to talk about one that relates to my recent reading.  I have just finished reading the book of Isaiah.  Although I admit that there are many sections in this book that I don't understand, the prophecies in this book that I do understand really strengthen my faith.  The fact that I am able to read about events that were written down hundreds of years before they ever happened really helps me to know that there really is a God and that He cares for the intimate particulars of our lives.   In addition to many details of Jesus' life and death that were foretold by Isaiah, I found two other passages particularly moving--one a surprise to me and the other an old favorite.  

First, let me share some of the random facts from Jesus' life that Isaiah foretold.  The first fulfilled prophecy relates to His conception.  We are told that He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-31).  We are also told that He will be an heir to the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 32-33).  Not only does Isaiah include prophecies related to His birth, there are also some details about His ministry.  We read in Isaiah 9:1-2 that He will minister in the Galilean region (Matthew 4:13-16).  Then, chapter 40 verses 3-5 inform us of one who will come to prepare the way for Jesus.  We see this prophecy fulfilled through the life of John the Baptist (Luke 3:3-6).   I knew these events were first mentioned in the Old Testament; I will now share one that I thought was only in the New Testament.

In addition to being asked why I believe in God, I am often questioned how one should live as a Christian.  I find myself frequently talking about the way that we should walk after we have entered by the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14).  I also tell them how once we are on this path, we are in His light, and as long as we stay on this path we continue to have fellowship with other Christians and Jesus' blood continues to cleanse us of our sins (I John 1:7).  I never knew of any parallel Old Testament verse, so Isaiah 35:8 truly astonished me.  It talks of this very concept when it says, "a highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.  The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it."  I love the idea that Isaiah included this thought so many years before Jesus came to earth and became this very Way for us to follow (John 14:6). 

Although Isaiah 35 surprised and delighted me, reading the 53rd chapter was like reading an old childhood favorite.  I have always been amazed by the details included in the section that my Bible calls "The Suffering Servant."  Verse 3 talks about how He was despised and forsaken by men, thoughts that John echoes (John 1:10-11).  Matthew tells us how He was silent while the Jews were hurling accusations at Him (Matthew 26:63; Isaiah 53:7).  Verse 12 tells us that He would be "numbered with the transgressors" which we see come to fruition in Mark 15:12.  Isaiah even includes the fact that He would be laid in the grave of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60).

The book of Isaiah is one of the reasons I believe in God.  This inspired book includes so many facts about Jesus birth, life, and death that couldn't have just been included by accident so many hundreds of years before His birth.  What are your favorite prophecies, and why do you believe in Him?  Also, as always, we would love to hear what you are reading.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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