In going out witnessing and leading someone through scripture, I received a nice challenge from an inquisitive twelve year old, who was somewhat fearful to ask a question. Not just any question, a question she and Christians struggle to answer. “How do I know that God exists? Where did He come from?” I immediately gave the generic, run of the mill, non-satisfying answer, “He has always been.” Realizing what just came out of my mouth, which I immediately and internally detested, I changed the course of the answer.
After each witnessing event, I will pray to God and share with Him what I saw, said, and will petition if there are other things I could have said and done better. It is in these instructional moments, the Lord teaches me. During my prayer where I reviewed the girl’s question, I was led to do a word study, or rather to strengthen my response on two questions. “How do I know God exists, and how do I know Jesus rose again?”
Searching through scripture for the word exists, I come across the following verse which I will provide the NKJV and the NASB rendering.
For all those My hand has made, and all those exists,” says the Lord, “but on this one will I look: on poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Is 66:2
For My hand made all these things, “Thus all these things came into being, “ declares the Lord. “But to this one I will, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word.” IS 66:2 NASB
The Hebrew word used in this verse is from the root word Hiyah, which we would more commonly associate with “I AM” or a state of being. The English root word is to be. When God told Moses to tell the Israelites who sent him, God said “A-hiyah asher A-hiyah” (I AM because I AM). The form of the Hebrew word Hiyah used in verse 66:2 is
6 10 5 10 6 = 37
Hiyah is also considered a name of God, and think about the many times God or Jesus uses, I AM. What is interesting is how the numerical value of the form of Hiyah in Isaiah 66:2 led me to scripture where there is an account of a group of people seeing God. Honestly, I think I have missed this many times. In Exodus 24:11, the phrase and they saw, has the numerical value of 37. In English, this same phrase is seen in verse 10, but it is not the same Hebrew word.
- “and they saw [root Ra’ah] the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.”
- “Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel, and they saw [root chazah] God, and they ate and drank.”
In my Hebrew teaching, no two Hebrew words have the same meaning. Ra’ah means to see as taking notice, perceiving something or someone, like a physically seeing; however, in verse 11, Chazah has a different interpretation, meaning to see something that is not physically present or to be able to understand on a higher level. Another meaning for chazah is the body part we call the chest area, the breast containing the heart.
How do I apply this? Well, verse 10 leads me to believe Moses was not the only one who saw part of God, as the nobles did get a physical view of some part of God, and verse 11 leads me to believe they also had a deeper understanding of God, and possible were allowed to perceive the love from the heart of God. Instead of being in fear and awe falling prostrate at the sight, they ate and drank.
In doing this exercise, I now have a verse where I can show someone people were allowed to see God in some form, and it is recorded in the Bible!
On the second part of my little teacher’s question, “Where did God come from?” The short answer is, “I do not know.” Sometimes, I don’t know is the correct answer, it shows people you are sincere, for all I can tell someone is what I have experienced with God. Here is a really neat verse to try and answer where God came from, actually read the verses afterwards, for I use this for reassurance of salvation.
“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.” Is 43:10
My little teacher was afraid to ask questions because she had doubts, and felt relieved when I told her it was okay to ask questions. I paraphrased the following at the time of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mary Magdalene, who followed Jesus, did not understand that Jesus would rise again. Even with Jesus standing before her, she didn’t perceive it was Him, until she heard that oh so familiar word, a word special to her, and I’m sure in a tone that could only identify it’s source as the one she loved and followed, “Mary.” With the saying of her name, she knew who it was! The risen Savior!
As I understand, none of the apostles believed Jesus was coming back from the dead, yet we like to pin an adjective to a particular one, “Doubting Thomas.” He was not going to believe until he put his finger in the nail prints and in the side. Jesus makes a statement that I will now add to my toolbox in witnessing:
“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
When I witness to someone, I cannot physically show them the cross, the empty tomb, or the resurrection. There were not portraits made, no cameras, only word of mouth for many years afterwards that was later penned. The one thing I can give someone is the name of the person, and it is by His name, we identify a person with all the acts, signs and miracles. It is by belief in His name, in His character, in what He did and who He was, that we can call upon Jesus for salvation.
Another verse I have begun to study on knowing the existence of God is found in Romans 1:18-20.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
I looked at my little teacher, set aside the Bible, and spoke, “Why do I personally believe God exists?” If you are searching, God makes Himself known to you. Sometimes by answered prayers, by things that are personal to me that I shared with her. (These I do not feel comfortable publicizing.)
“Why do I believe Jesus rose again?” I explained how 10 of the 11 apostles were killed and would not deny Jesus rose again, and how people down through the ages have given their lives to tell you, Jesus rose again. Boldly, I told her, “I would face death as well, so that you would know Jesus rose again to save you.”
In concluding, I showed my little teacher the last verses in Romans 10:8-13 on how she can have that relationship with Jesus Christ. Afterwards, I showed her John 12:47-48, and told her it would be okay if she does not want to believe this. Jesus would not judge her, and I would not judge her either. Jesus loves her so much, that He hopes one day she would come to him. I asked her if she would like to commit her life to Christ. Her two friends and her confirmed, so I led them in prayer, only I told them, I would start the prayer differently.
The prayer began with a request to God, that He would make himself known to my little teacher. That her doubts and questions would be put at ease, and then they prayed to repent and receive the free gift that God gave on the cross.
After the prayer, I asked them to fill a card out and on the back if they could write what they experienced. My little teacher drew a blank, and said “I do not know what to write.” I assured her, it was okay, that sometimes, people cannot describe what has happened. I noticed the tears pooling under her eyes and was given a calm, that my prayer had been answered. God made Himself known to her.