Tuesday, July 17, 2007

God with us? I

God on our side
I recently saw a documentary hosted by Australian comedian Andrew Denton called God on my side. Denton tours the stalls of the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Texas interviewing people, predominantly fundamentalist Christians. In is usual way, Denton let his subjects do most of the talking and gets them to reveal quite a lot about themselves, their beliefs and their foibles. But the title of the program shows the heart of what Denton thinks these people believe: With God on my side. The implication is that God is my magic talisman, my lucky charm, my guarantee of success, my assurance of being right. If God is with me, who can be against me? If he’s on my side, then heaven help my enemies!

Is God on our side? What would that even mean? How could you know? Is God with us, or against us? Where is God? Where can he be found?
This is the first post in a new short series (based on a recent sermon I preached on Exodus 25).
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI.
I'll be really impressed (and give fifteen points) if someone can guess the Sydney suburb.


Steve Wright said...

Good questions Byron. I wonder if God is on our side, or whether we place ourselves on his side. Or is there even a side to be taken? Is it not just that we accept God's invitation into his life? If that's the case, then taking sides is a human problem, not a divine one.

By the way, I recognise the photo. I was at that campsite for a pastor's retreat earlier this year. We used that tower as a stump for a game of outdoor cricket. Nice piece of Australian history though.

byron smith said...

Steve - yes, as you'll see, I agree with many of your points here. Speaking of points, if you can name the suburb, the points are yours.

PS which Steve are you? Have we met?

Anonymous said...

On one level I am tempted to think that God takes the same position as Tree beard, "Side! I'm not on anyone's side because no one is on my side."

Steve Wright said...

Hi Byron,

no I don't think we've met. I only moved here in December.

I think the suburb was Castlereagh.


byron smith said...

Indeed it was. Fifteen points. You're off the mark.

Jonathan said...

Jesus doesn't avoid talking about sides, saying both that those that are not with him are against him, and that those who are not against him are for him. I'm also not sure that the question is answered by talking about who it is choosing sides. The "If God is with me, who can be against me?" idea that Byron refers to comes from the context of those whom God has called and who love him. However, the context clearly does imply that it is God's side, not our side. The comfort of God working for the good of his people is despite them not knowing what they ought to pray for.

I'm looking forward to this series based on Exodus 25, particularly having just had bible studies on Jesus as the tabernacle and Jesus as the priest and sacrifice, where we thought about why we are able to draw near to God, or "be on his side". But in the meantime, I should probably get back to preparing the next study, which is on one of Byron's favourite topics.