devos from the hill

The Universal Question

12 Comments

Is there a purpose…for the world and for me?

Note: The following is from Lesson 1 of The HOPE video Study Guide – At the end of this lesson, please join in the conversation by sharing your comments.

Introduction

The HOPE video begins with these words…

Throughout time people have considered the world in which we live; the complexity and beauty of nature, the mystery of life and death, the depth of human joy and pain …and they have wondered, ‘How did it all come to be? Is this world the result of chance…or design? Is there something, or someone, behind it all? And if there is such a being, then what is He like? Does He have a purpose for this world? Does He have a purpose for me in this world? Does He have a purpose for me beyond this world?

– The HOPE video, Introduction

Observe & Consider

These questions from the beginning of The HOPE are not new. People have long pondered the meaning and purpose of their lives, and they have questioned the existence of a divine creator. For many, questions about purpose and the existence of God are inseparable. Even the prominent 20th century atheist Bertrand Russell once said, “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” 1

Why would an avowed atheist make such a statement? Because purpose implies intent, and intent implies design. And if there is a design to this world, then there must be a designer. Perhaps then, there are questions even more basic than that of life’s purpose.

Is there a Designer…and is this Designer knowable? Please understand that it is not the intent of The HOPE to prove God…but rather to reveal Him. As the narrator says at the outset of the video, “for those who seek answers, for those who are listening, there is a voice.”

What about you? Are you listening? Maybe you’ve already made up your mind that God does not exist, or maybe you believe there is a God, but you’re unsure about what He is like. For the purpose of our study, perhaps you should ask yourself before you go further, “Am I really listening? Is it possible that there is something about God I’ve not yet heard or understood?”

In the Bible we find a verse that tells us God has long been speaking, but that man has not always listened to Him or received His revelation.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:20-21).

God is not silent. Since time began He has spoken through His creation. And for just as long, rather than simply receiving this revelation and honoring God, people have determined for themselves what they think He is like. As we see from the Romans 1 verse, the results of such speculation are futile. If we were to read further in Romans 1, we would see that such speculation is ultimately disastrous.

For the course of our study, will you consider God (or determine to discover more about Him) as He would reveal Himself? Will you listen, instead of holding on to your own ideas or speculations about God? If you will, this study guide could become quite an adventure in faith.

Ask & Reflect

• People often hear only what they want (or think they need) to hear. Consider a few of the things that might keep someone from listening, and really hearing from God:

  • Pride – the need to be in control
  • Lifestyle – behavior we intuitively know is unacceptable to God, but do not want to change
  • Woundedness – painful experiences from our past that keep us from trusting others

• What else might keep a person from listening to, and really hearing, the truth of God?
• How would you answer the question, “What is the purpose of life?” Or more specifically, “What is the purpose of your life?”
• To what degree is your image of God based on your speculation rather than His revelation?

Decide & Do

Another Bible verse reads: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Regardless of where you are in your journey with God, this verse is for you. You may be asking questions about the existence of God, or you may already consider yourself a believer, but you want to know God more intimately. He promises to be found when we search wholeheartedly for Him.

As you begin this study, be prepared to let God show you who He is, and to discover new things about God and yourself. Determine that you will “search for Him with your whole heart.” Perhaps you might consider writing a purpose statement to that effect as you begin this study: “As is begin this study of The HOPE, I . . .”

Footnotes
1 Dr. Hugh Moorhead, The Meaning of Life (Chicago Review Press, December 1988). Dr. Moorhead, a philosophy professor at Northeastern Illinois University, once wrote to 250 of the best–known philosophers, scientists, writers, and intellectuals in the world, asking them, “What is the meaning of life?” Their responses are published in this book.

12 thoughts on “The Universal Question

  1. So often, we assume that a lesson like this is for those who are wrestling with the existence of God. But really, for those who already believe in God, this lesson should be a challenge to know God more and to worship Him as He really is, above and beyond our clouded perception. The question, “To what degree is your image of God based on your speculation rather than His revelation?”, is for believers and doubters. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12.

  2. There are 2 things that struck me as we went through this lesson today: 1- God has been speaking to mankind for along time…through creation and nature, and then through the Bible, and then 2- I have to listen in order to hear. I am able to block out all kinds of communication…if I want to hear what God has to say, I have to listen for Him and to Him! And I love the promise in Jeremiah 29:13 that if we seek Him wholeheartedly He will reveal Himself to us!

    Does anyone else have as much trouble with the “listening” part as I do?

  3. It is the Triune God who places the eternal questions within us, to cause us to seek Him. For far too many years there has been a counterfeit religion called evolution that has become so excepted that to believe otherwise, at least in America, puts one in the fringe of society. I remember in the last presidential primary election a candidate stated that he believed the world was the result of creation by God, it was used as ammunition to keep him from being taken seriously. There is so much order in creation, be it viewed through a microscopic or the Hubble Telescope, that points to God that to deny Him must be dangerously willful (Romans 1:18).
    It seems to me that we are compelled to believe in either an eternal God or eternal matter, both being beyond our comprehension. Only one makes us accountable; only one gives Hope beyond now. Mankind has sadly been mislead for so long the he has become conditioned to reflexively choose to be “free” from accountability, to be “free” from being told what to do, how to live. It is truly a dramatic 180 to begin to be able to see the freedom that comes from giving ones life to the One who began it all and holds it all together and knows and wants what is best for us.
    It is good that this study (and The Hope film) starts with the ponderings of our hearts and then puts forth the validity of the Biblical creation account, because, if God didn’t create the heavens and the earth and all that is in them what right has He to set the rules? He has changed me, He gives me hope and purpose.

  4. That’s a good word Dan. Thanks. He is our hope and purpose!

  5. Over the years, society has been changing. Today, it is “in” to not believe in any deity. We certainly have seen a rise in this teaching in the schools and generally in our society. Just mention the name Jesus and you will be perceived as a bigot. These people that have the ears of our children are fostering a generation of people that will soon forget God. They have pushed Him as far out of society as possible. Peer pressure, teaching institutions, lack of prayer, no Scripture knowledge and application has certainly impacted our ability to know God. The ultimate purpose of life is to worship and serve God and to bring Him glory. When we find this purpose in our lives, we will have found His rest. We will then understand what this life is all about. I have certainly found peace in Him. Many times our ideas about God come from our earthly fathers. My father was critical of me. For a long time I struggled with the idea that God was critical of me too. But I am slowly learning that God came to bring me peace. He knew all along what I would do before I did it. God’s image was marred by Roman flogging so that I might once again be made perfect in the image of Him. He shall forever bear His scars while I shall be healed.

    • Ben, that is an interesting comment about how you perceived God the Father as being critical like your earthly Father. I think that IS a common thing for a lot of people. It goes back to the question posed in the study, “To what degree is your image of God based on your speculation rather than His revelation?” Often times I have also found myself speculating that God is evaluating something the same way I am ….. and then I remind myself that He is perfect and likely not thinking with my sin-warped perceptions. 🙂 It is a life-long growth process for me, for sure!

      • My father was a wonderful but imperfect father as I am an imperfect father. It truly s an ongoing process to not only get past the difficulty of the feeling of not measuring up and of forgiving myself for giving the same perception to my children at times. We know that God loves us unconditionally and we can’t earn His favor, yet He expects us to live in a a manner in line with obedience to Him. Seems like a dichotomy, It can be hard for a simple mind like mine to get wrapped around. Praise His Name we won’t always see through through a glass darkly. (y)

    • I also think that many times we reduce God to an image we are familiar with. Romans 1 speaks about this and how people exchange the revelation of God and worship things that familiar with what we see around us; man, animals, planets. I think we should be especially careful that we do not make God into an image that fits our perception of Him. If we do, we are really worshiping our self; since that god would be only a mirror of our self.

  6. My mother-in-law, who is legally blind, lives with my wife and me. She can do her Bible study under a magnifed reading screen. She can read a recipe with a magnifying glass. But basically, everthing in her world is blurry. Sometimes I think I see, but really, my vision is blurry compared to what it will be like when I no longer have to see Him through a glass darkly. Oh what a day that will be!

  7. How often will the devos come from the hill? Jas. 1:5 The first one was excellent:) Ann & Bill

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