Knowing God Will Change Your Relationships

Guidelines for Living Daily Devotional

July 23, 2019

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  2 Corinthians 6:16

Frank Mihalic tells the story.  An old monastery fell on hard times.  Few young men joined the monks, whose primary tasks were to chant scriptures and to spend their days in prayer.  Whereas the chapel was once filled with the praising of God ringing in their midst, only a few men blended their voices in prayer and praise.

Near the edge of the property, a rabbi built a hut where he came for prayer and meditation. There was no dialogue between the men who didn't seem to share much in common, but one day the abbot decided to visit the rabbi and perhaps open his heart to him.  So the abbot set out through the woods to the hut of the rabbi.

As he approached the hut, the rabbi walked towards the man he had never seen, threw his arms about him and motioned him to enter. The hut was empty save for a couple of benches and a rough-hewn table upon which was an open Bible.  As the two looked at each other, the rabbi began to sob. Then the abbot joined him, and the two men vented their deep emotions and wept unashamedly.  Then the rabbi spoke, telling the abbot that he knew he had come for a teaching and he would say it only once. "The Messiah is among you," he said.  Nothing more was said for a few moments, and soon the abbot left.

Gathering the few men who remained at the monastery, they asked, "What did the rabbi tell you?"  Quietly he said, "He told me that one of us is the Messiah," misunderstanding what had really been said.  And what happened? Harsh words were no longer spoken. Acts of kindness became spontaneous. Prayers were no longer laborious. Spiritually the men came alive.[1]

So is there a lesson for us in this simple parable?  If so, it is this: When God is in the midst of His people, their lives change radically. His touch makes a difference in their hearts, their relationships, their marriages, and how they get along with their neighbors.  Even their dogs and cats can tell a difference.

When Israel had drifted far away from God, as a loving Father who missed the presence of His children, God said, "Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings, and I will live among them forever" (Ezekiel 43:9).

God, living among His people, always makes a difference. So, what is the parallel to life in the twenty-first century?  Should we take a local church to be the equivalent of God's people? Or should we go beyond that to our individual families?  It's interesting that the last book of the New Testament pictures God's Son at the door of a home, knocking, wanting to come in (Revelation 3:20).

The question is this: Is God at home in your family? Does His presence make a difference in the way you treat each other? It can. It does make a difference in the lives of millions of people, and if this is not true in your home, you are missing something tremendously important.

Getting to know God, to understand who He is and what He asks of us is tremendously important. To do this, you've got to get beyond the misconceptions of God's being a cosmic policeman, an old gray-bearded but kind father, too weak to help no matter how much he would like to, or a disinterested spectator.

And how shall we find out who God really is? Good question, one which can be easily answered.  For almost 35 centuries, men and women have turned to the written pages of the Bible, and there God tells us something of Himself, His nature, His character, and His will and purpose for our lives. He still does.

Resource reading:  2 Corinthians 6

[1] Mihalic, Frank, 100 Stories You Can Use, Vol. 2, (Manila: Divine Word Publications, 1989, p.1).

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