Intro: 1. Text this morning has something to say about our trials (James 1:12-18) 2. Facing trials needs a correct perspective on God AND our Trials 3. This perspective involves knowing three things: 1. Which charateristic of God is most prominent? a. Exod 19:16-18; 20:18-21 / Is 6 - Smoke, fire/lightning, thunder (Holy) b. Why does God typically appear in the form of fire and smoke? - Fire - (ILL: Kids- Donít play with Fire) - Drawn to it, but canít get careless -- get burned - It is nice to have fire, but have to respect it c. SO, we should be careful around God? 2. Would you ever think about questioning or even challenging God? a. Would you ever go to God and tell him he is not fair, or unjust, etc.? b. First person come to mind is Job -- (Wanted vindication) c. Thatís a long study, do we will focus our attention elsewhere tonight 3. Start with Abraham (Gen 18:26-33) a. v.20 - Sin is exceedingly grave (they are sinful to the max) b. Sodom and Gommorah were the cities of sin (not unlike Corinth or Las Vegas) c. God had the right to destroy these wicked cities d. Abraham does the unthinkable (not that he tried to change mind) - v.23 - He ďcame nearĒ careful you donít get burned! - v.25 - He accuses God of being unjust! - v.30 - Abraham knows he is playing with fire e. Abraham did not save the city, but he saved God. No doubt now as to justice 4. Moses (Exod 19) a. Exod 19:1-8 - All the Lord has said we will do b. Just over month later, golden calf and have a feast to Yahweh (32:4-5) c. Godís reaction (32:7-10) - Unlike Abraham, there is no doubt theses are guilty - God will wipe them out and start all over again with Moses d. ďLet me alone that...Ē What? Can he stop God? - God practically invites Moses to intervene - Moses uses two things to try and change Godís mind - Promise to Abraham - really had no weight because he could have still remained faithful with just Moses - What God would look like to the Egyptians - Besides, God had already tried wiping everyone out & starting over again in days of Noah, and it didnít help much e. Moses brings God and the people back together - God called them ďthisĒ people (v.9) - Moses called them ďyourĒ people (v.11) 5. Amos a. Amos the prophet of social injustice (Amos 2:6-8; 5:11-13) b. Godís tells Amos what he is going to do (Amos 7:1-9) c. Amos changed Godís mind twice 6. Other example of men challenging God (Hab 1; Lam 2; Psalms.....) 7. What is amazing is that God intentionally involves men in his decisions. a. Moses could have said, "I'm just your slave-- do what you see is best". b. Instead, Moses boldly tells God it would be better if God were to spare Israel c. Moses boldly gives God what he perceives a better option, and God takes it! d. The same could be said of Abraham and Amos. Man is counseling God! 8. What does this say about God's sovereignty? a. There is a give and take in the doctrine of the "immutability of God". b. God does something very unusual in Exodus 6. He reveals his personal name! c. One does not go around offering his name to others for no reason. - Initiate relationship - Become vulnerable to the other persons needs and wants - Increase potential of being hurt - Knowing a name is both a priviledge and responsiblity d. Exodus about God initiating relationship (ends with God filling tabernacle) e. Since God desires relationship, he at times invites people to questions him 9. Some call this heresy because this attacks the doctrine of God's sovereignty. a. Instead of starting with a "doctrine" and going out to scripture to support it, we should let scripture speak for itself, especially in the case of God. b. God does not reveal himself in theological propositions, logical deductions, and doctrinal formulas. To reduce God to a proposition is really what does him injustice. c. God reveals himself through his actions, which are preserved for us in scripture. d. The Biblical authors do not make the attempt to minimize God to the lowest common denominator. e. To separate law from the story leads to legalism. God is our Father who has come to live among us, not an abstract theological deduction. 10. God is bigger than we are a. God is holy, but he is not so sensitive that his people cannot question him. b. He can take it because he loves us (relationship) c. A relationship involves honesty d. Read lament Psalms, and you will see brutal honesty e. THERE IS NOTHING YOU CANíT TAKE TO GOD!!