BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Printer-Friendly          E-mail this page


Bible verses about Seeing God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Numbers 22:24-25   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What does God do? His first attempt to get Balaam's attention fails—not with the donkey, but with Balaam. The man is totally oblivious to what is going on. So God narrows him in or hedges him in. The path that Balaam was taking led between two hedges or walls. There was enough room,however, for the donkey to turn aside, which is what she did. She turned away, but in doing so, Balaam's foot became crushed against the wall, causing him pain. Perhaps God thought that a little pain would help him come to his senses.

However, Balaam does not think about God at all. He thinks, "You stupid donkey! Why did you do that to me?" He does not say anything at this point but beats the poor donkey. His injury does not cause him to consider at all that God may be trying to get his attention. It never comes to mind that God may be telling him something. He takes all his pain and rage out on this innocent donkey, which was only trying to obey God.

Think of the donkey in terms of this passage:

But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape safely. (Psalm 141:8-10)

The donkey who saw God would have avoided the trap and escaped, if it were not for Balaam controlling her. He made her go back into the trap—and on to his own ruin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Numbers 22:26-27   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Again, the donkey proves herself wiser than Balaam.

God frequently does this: First, He gets us in a wide place and allows us to make our decisions. It soon becomes apparent which direction we are going, which path we are taking. Then God begins to narrow the way, especially if He sees us going in the wrong direction. He catches us in a place where we can turn around and gives us an opportunity to make a right decision. If we do not do what He wants us to do, He will go a little further down the path—a little bit later in our life—to catch us in a place where the answer is obvious, and we can do nothing except stop, and say, "God help me! I've gone the wrong way, and I need You to open the path for me."

He does this to Balaam. He gets him to the point where there is only plunging on to destruction on one hand, and on the other, stopping and retracing his steps to where he can head in the right direction.

This is the point where Balaam is in these two verses. The donkey simply lies down, as that is all she can do. Proverbs 22:3 says, "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." The donkey is the "prudent man" here, and blind Balaam is "the simple." He is so without any spiritual acumen that he is just like a foolish simpleton. He cannot see wisdom; he cannot make a wise choice. However, the dumb donkey can!

As a last resort, God takes matters one more step. He is always full of mercy, willing to give us that one more chance to make the right choice. But now He has to do something drastic!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Job 42:1-6   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is the conclusion, the climax, of his long and detailed story. Now Job can see God. From the context, properly seeing God involves getting the self out of the way! As long as self was in his line of sight, Job judged God by his own perspective. Remember, we see what we want to see, what we are educated to see. So Job saw his own wisdom, his own works, and they blocked his view of God in His greatness. The carnal mind is trained to do this.

It takes great determination, discipline in study and in prayer, and meditation to break oneself of that natural, carnal mode of thinking. Even when we succeed, we have to understand that our vision of God still has to be constantly replenished—"day by day," Paul says (II Corinthians 4:16)—and upgraded, refocused, exercised, as it were, in the truth.

Job's case is particularly interesting. Job thought he knew God well, but he was painfully unaware that there was still much that he did not know. During his sufferings, he threw a great many direct challenges at God in an effort either to justify himself or to understand why he was going through this trial. Yet, God never directly answered any of Job's challenges! Instead, beginning in chapter 38, He leads Job to see his own insignificance in light of God's greatness. Most people do not realize that in the entire book Job never repents of sin. Sin is not the issue! The issue is that, despite Job's extensive knowledge of God, he did not see Him as all-powerful! He did realize that God alone puts down evil and brings to pass all of His holy will.

We can tell the real issue in the book of Job by what God says in chapters 38-41. God makes two speeches. It is not Job's self-righteousness—certainly apparent—that God addresses, but his questioning of God's justice in the governance of His creation.

When Job opens his mouth to speak in Job 42:1-6, it is to tell God that he got the point: God's purpose is all that counts! In addition, since He is God, He can bring it to pass. God has the right, the will, and the loving nature to do anything He pleases to anybody at any time—and good will result.

Do we believe that? A caution, however: A man as spiritually mature as Job did not—until the end of the book.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

Ecclesiastes 12:1   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Solomon is urging this because, when God is neglected, the capacity for having joy in one's life is diminished. He is saying, "Get started now, when you're young!"

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 2)


 

Isaiah 46:8-10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These three verses contain a general principle in which God challenges us to consider, to compare, all of the material idols, which are so easily seen, to Him. There is, really, no comparison.

Joshua says at the end of his life:

Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; and not one word of them has failed. (Joshua 23:14)

"Remember" is an important word within true, spiritual religion. Remembering brings back to mind what has happened in the past as evidence of what God can and will do. These verses in Isaiah say we must remember that God's counsel stands; when He says something, it is so. It happens. God gives plenty of evidence to demonstrate that He can be trusted. Seeing God and having faith is the result of recalling that God has demonstrated both Himself and His purpose in "the former things."

Isaiah 46:9 says, "Remember the former things." This is what David did. This is what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did. We too have to remember. However, our focus, our spiritual insight, is greatly built and reinforced through obedience to His counsel in the present and by seeing from one's own experience that His will and purpose truly do stand. Once that occurs, we can see God!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

Matthew 5:8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This beatitude, like all the others, has both a present and future fulfillment. Paul says in I Corinthians 13:12, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." To "see" God is to be brought close to Him. In this instance the sense is that what we are far from cannot be clearly distinguished. That, as sinners, we are far from God is proclaimed in Isaiah 59:2: "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear." Thus James 4:8 admonishes us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

The pure in heart are those who with all their being seek to remain free of every form of the defilement of sin. The fruit of this is the blessing of spiritual discernment. With spiritual understanding, they have clear views of God's character, will, and attributes. A pure heart is synonymous with what Jesus calls a "single" (KJV) or "clear" (NKJV margin) eye in Matthew 6:22. When a person has this mind, the whole body is full of light. Where there is light, one can see clearly.

The sense of this beatitude's promise to see God carries over into the Kingdom of God. In one sense, all will see God, as Revelation 1:7 prophesies: "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of earth will mourn because of Him." They will see Him as Judge.

Jesus' promise, though, is stated as a blessing, a favor. Revelation 22:4 says of those who will inherit God's Kingdom, "They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads." I John 3:2 reads, "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." To see someone's face is to be so near as to be in his presence. In this case, the term indicated the highest of honors: to stand in the presence of the King of kings. Certainly David understood the greatness of this: "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness" (Psalm 17:15).

God places great value on being clean, especially in terms of purity of heart. Also, we can easily become defiled, whereas remaining clean requires constant vigilance, a determined discipline, and a clear vision of what lies before us to serve as a prod to keep us on track. Since it is sin that defiles, this beatitude demands from us the most exacting self-examination. Are our work and service done from selfless motives or from a desire for self-display? Is our church-going a sincere attempt to meet God or merely fulfilling a respectable habit? Are our prayers and Bible study a heartfelt desire to commune with God, or do we pursue them because they make us feel pleasantly superior? Is our life lived with a conscious need of God, or are we merely seeking comfort in our piety?

To examine our motives honestly can be a daunting and shaming but very necessary discipline, but considering Christ's promise in this beatitude, it is well worth whatever effort and humbling of self it takes. It is good for us to keep Paul's admonishment found in II Corinthians 7:1 fresh in mind: "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 6: The Pure in Heart


 

Matthew 13:54-58   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Here, He did not affect people positively. The overwhelming evidence of Scripture is that mankind did not see Him. Instead, they were perplexed or disturbed. He created divisions. Some were outright offended. Notice Jesus' reaction: "But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.' And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (verses 57-58).

His statement begins to reveal an application of "seeing" to us. Will He be working in our lives if we do not see Him? If we do not understand His purpose, what He is working out in us? We have come out of a world in which there is just as much, if not more, confusion today regarding Him as when He walked the earth. The concern is not whether we can identify Him, because we recognize Him as the Christ—we "see" the real Jesus—but do we see Him as a vital part of our lives?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

John 1:10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The people of His day saw Him, but did they believe Him? Did they see God in the flesh walking with them, teaching them, giving them the eternal truths of life, and showing them how to live by both word and example? Were they just so overwhelmed and in awe, knowing that this was God, that they said, "Yes, I see Him. I believe Him. I will follow Him"? No, the Bible's testimony is that they did not know Him, even though they saw Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

John 1:11-13   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Just because we see does not mean that we will believe because there is a spiritual aspect to this sort of seeing and believing. This passage indicates that "His own" showed not even a flash of recognition as to His true identity.

Consider the incongruity of this. We frequently hear of personalities in the public eye affecting some kind of a mode of dress or lifestyle that will set them apart and make them instantly recognizable. In this regard, compare Jesus Christ, the most unique Personality that ever lived in the history of mankind! He was a one-of-a-kind, the only human who ever lived life sinlessly. Yet, even those of His generation who saw Him could not identify Him, God in the flesh!

This suggests that one must be predisposed to believe, to have the ability to "see." It is interesting to note that, to those who exercised this faith, "He gave the power [right, authority, ability] to become the children of God" (verse 12). Only those who "see" and then "receive" Christ can enter into a relationship with God that results in nothing less than the creation of a new being.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

John 7:5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Even His own brothers, who lived with Him day in and day out, did not believe in Him! It is almost unbelievable that someone living with God would not recognize—would not see—Him as God!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

Acts 9:5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Before conversion, the apostle Paul was certainly well-schooled in the Scriptures, as far as the Jews could teach him. The Bible says he studied at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was very intelligent and incisive of mind, a man of conviction and determination. Yet, this same man God had to physically blind and thoroughly humble before he could see Him. Even though Paul had a command of the Scriptures that few people have ever had at their calling, he could not see God working in the infant Christian church.

Christ, in a mild rebuke, says to Paul on the way to Damascus, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads." We should take this reproach to heart as well because it teaches us that the carnal mind will reject the evidence that God gives, even though it is suffering and in pain. Thus, God's calling and His predisposing us to see spiritually and to identify with His Son are of no avail unless His Word becomes integrated within us.

How are we hearing God's Word? Disinterestedly? Skeptically? Cynically? Critically? Indifferently? Eagerly? Remember, "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Hearing starts the processing of the revelation of God, and we must consciously work at it. It includes what we are "hearing" this moment, as well as what we have heard over the last six months, the past year, the past decade, and the whole time of our conversion! How are we listening? Do we follow through on the things that we hear? Unless we do, we are not hearing - and we will not truly see God!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

Romans 1:20   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Even with such an overwhelming testimony, some hapless fools, having immersed themselves in evil behavior, have deluded themselves into rejecting this general revelation, refusing to see God (Psalm 14:1). Even the public or general revelation cannot penetrate the darkened minds of those whom, because of their addiction to sin, God has given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:21).

David F. Maas
Why Does God Keep Secrets?


 

1 Corinthians 2:8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

They did not realize He was the God of creation, nor did they realize He was the Savior. They could not discern the things that He was saying and doing or put them in the right context or perspective.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

1 Corinthians 2:10-12   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These three verses show that we are predisposed by God's calling to see Him. He predisposes us not only to know His truth, but to know who His servants are, as well. So we can know the things of God. We may not know them perfectly, but what we know is a great source of comfort, security, hope, and direction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

1 Corinthians 2:13-15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

True wisdom is the result of human reason coupled with revelation. Yet, even true wisdom will result only if a person believes what God says. Only then does a person have the opportunity to see God. He is hidden from those who put their faith in human wisdom.

Natural in this context does not mean "evil." It simply refers to one whose horizons are bounded by the things of natural life, by "the around and the about." Such a person is not equipped to discern the activities of God. But a person with the Holy Spirit can examine God's activities and make judgments based on them. Therefore, in his process of judgment, God comes into the picture. When the Spirit of God comes into a person's life, the basis of his judgment should change! This occurs, not because the person is any "greater" or "better," but because the Spirit of God equips him to see and to use godly wisdom. Now he can judge all things from God's perspective. This indeed is our responsibility!

Because God has called us, we should see God so clearly and know His greatness so intimately that we can live in the expectation that something great can happen at any moment to those who are receptive. The God who raised up Jesus is equal to any occasion—any possibility! Is anything too hard for Him? Certainly not! He throws that challenge out to man—to those who truly see Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

Hebrews 4:1-2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Consider these Israelites. They saw a multitude of miracles performed by God through His servant Moses and on occasion through Aaron. They experienced the water turn to blood and frogs hop all over the place. They experienced the eerie, penetrating darkness that pervaded all of Egypt. They experienced the division between Goshen and Egypt, and they knew God spared them from the remaining plagues.

They knew something was "working" in their lives. They could see it occurring when the flies were all over Egypt except in Goshen. They saw it happen through five other plagues. They experienced it again on Passover night when the firstborn of Egypt were killed, but the firstborn of Israel, shielded by the blood on their doorposts and lintels, were not. Did they not see that?

Did they not spoil the Egyptians? Did they not leave Egypt? Did not God part the Red Sea before their eyes and drown all the Egyptian army in its waters? Did they not eat manna supplied from heaven every day for forty years in the wilderness? Did they not see water flow like a river out of solid rock? Did they not see quail blown toward them so that they had all the meat they could eat?

They saw the glory of God descend on Mount Sinai. They felt the earth shake under their feet. They saw the pillar of fire and cloud. They saw the glory of God rest upon the Tabernacle when it was set up. Nevertheless, every single one of them, except for two men and their families, perished!

Is seeing believing?

The Israelites never really saw God in those works. What they physically saw did not produce the spiritual faith that enables one to see God, because, as these verses explain, the one whose eyes are opened must voluntarily respond. The Israelites never responded positively to God.

The Christian's responsibility is to respond to God's calling through acts of faith. The apostle reminds the Hebrews of the deadly seriousness of their situation. God's calling is not indiscriminately handed out to anyone who might happen to see or read. It is a personal invitation (John 6:44). God has addressed it specifically to us!

These verses also contain a warning: Since Israel did not enter into God's rest, someone else will, because God will fulfill His purpose. The Christian ought not to think that he will automatically enter it in Israel's place.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part One)


 

Hebrews 11:27   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This succinct statement illustrates what made the difference between those who succeeded in living by faith and entered the Promised Land and those who left Egypt but died during the pilgrimage: Those who succeeded "saw" God.

This is perhaps the simplest and clearest explanation of the nature of faith in the entire Bible. Hebrews is written to a group of people undergoing severe trials, and the author encourages and counsels them to persevere through them and remain on track for the Kingdom of God. At this point, Moses is the specific illustration of living by faith. In his relationship with God, he is described as being sustained in perseverance as if he literally saw God with His bodily eyes.

Hebrews 11:1 explains, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The author is saying that faith is the confident conviction that, like the foundation of a building, stands under and supports a life lived by faith in the invisible God. This brings up an important question: How can a person live by faith if he does not have sufficient knowledge of the sovereign greatness, closeness, and awesome grace of God? In the mercy that He has already given, God has shown enough of Himself to allow us to begin a relationship with Him. Of course, we need more to come to know Him and fear Him as He desires.

A recent Barna poll reported that over 80% of Americans believe God exists. Yet, how is their level of knowledge about Him affecting their conduct? Clearly, it is not supporting moral living to any great extent. This fact triggers the thought that the great immorality of the American people reveals that they are not very concerned about being answerable to Him. They have heard of Him but do not know Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Two)


 

1 John 3:1-3   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

People spend their lives chasing after a name that will bring them a measure of honor or notoriety. They want to be associated with a "name" university, a "name" team, a "name" company; wear clothing with a certain "name" label; drive a "name" automobile; or marry into a certain family "name." Yet, the greatest name that anyone could possibly bear has come to us unbidden. Thus, John is exhorting his readers to remember their privileges in bearing that awesome name. Chrysostom, a fourth-century Catholic archbishop, counseled parents to give children scriptural names, urging them to tell the children stories about the person who bore that name so that, as they matured, they would have something to live up to.

Is there a paradox in what John writes? We know that in order to see God, we need to be like Him. Carnally, we think that to be like Him, we need to see Him. God says that seeing Him is not necessary, as He has chosen to conduct His purposes for man through faith in His Word. He has revealed what He is by His names and by the life of Jesus Christ. By faith, we can emulate Him through His Spirit. If we saw Him in the flesh, our curiosity would likely be satisfied, or we would be so overwhelmed by His perfection that we would give up. That is how human nature works. God's way of faith is better.

Malachi 3:16 provides wise counsel befitting the times in which we live: "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name." The people described here are pictured as meditating for the purpose of praising, imitating, and passing on their thoughts to each other. They looked for God's good hand in every area of their lives.

David exclaims in Psalm 34:1-3: "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 115,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
Printer-Friendly          E-mail this page
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2014 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.