Dr. E Dewey Smith prides himself on not only being a pastor but also a teacher, as the leader of House of Hope Atlanta, he challenges many of the societal perceptions and interpretations of the Bible. Dr. Smith had House of Hope Atlanta on the edge of their seat Sunday morning. He objected to an age old myth that has surrounded the Christian community for centuries. Can we question God? Dr. Smith asserted, “You will never see a scripture in the Bible that says we should not question God. See entire book of Psalms!” After this, the entire congregation gasped for air. This is something that many Christians may have considered blasphemous thirty years ago. However, Dr. Smith definitely brought it home for the House of Hope Atlanta family.
Dr. Smith pinpointed a specific reason why we encounter this conundrum. Dr. Smith says, “The challenge is that we see God as a powerful force and not as a personal Father.” He assured the sanctuary that you must trust and verify, highlighting communication and extemporaneous time with God. Dr. Smith suggests, “Communication is not just proclamation; it is also interrogation.” Since the genesis of Christianity, “Even Jesus had questions of God. It did not make Him a sinner! He died without sin!” He depicted the essence of a relationship with God. Saying, “It’s alright to question the nature of God as long as you don’t question the existence of God.” Adding, “Not only does God allow us to ask Him questions, God asked questions of His own creation.”
This allows us to differentiate between Heaven and Hell. In this case there are questions between Heaven and Hell. Why does God ask the devil a question? Dr. Smith posed an interesting question, “Why would an omniscient God ever have to ask creation a question? The devil is a created being not equal to God. He broke down the trichotomy of the devils questions. Why does God ask the devil questions 1. He wanted to reward Satan’s pursuits. The devil is a condemned foe, but God allows him to come into His presence. Dr. Smith says, “If a condemned foe likes being in the presence of God twice a day, then you and I ought not mind coming once a week!” God gives the devil what the devil wanted because he has respect for God’s presence!
We ought to expect God to answer our prayer when we come into his presence. Dr. Smith says, “God gave you what you wanted because you had enough reverence to come into his presence! Adding, “Sometimes he rewards our pursuits!” Again, why does God ask the devil questions 2. To remind Satan that he needed permission. Chanting, the enemy tried to get me but he discovered that I was covered! Give God praise! I shout because God protected me from the devil. But he also kept me from myself! He kept me when I wasn’t able. Sometimes you must thank God that He protected you from you! Lastly, why does God ask the devil questions 3. To remove thoughts that our love isn’t pure!
If you lose everything else but have Jesus you still have enough to start all over again! The devil suggested that Job only served God because of what God gave him. Dr. Smith clarified that, “Job didn’t shout because he had stuff but because of the giver!” Do you love God because of his presence or his presents? There have been times in all our lives when we couldn’t do anything but hold on! Dr. E Dewey Smith reminded the congregation that Job held on even after the devil took his finances, family and fitness! Have you ever wondered after what you went through why you still have your sanity? God made some stuff in your life off limits! Be encouraged! Whatever else you might lose, don’t lose your JOY!
The Devil use the closest person to Job – his wife – to try to get Job to curse God. Be careful who you let in your ear when you’re down! Sometimes God allows things to happen to test us! Dr. Smith poses the question, “Are you with him for convenience or for commitment? If God allows the pain, know there’s some purpose in the pain! The pain you’re complaining about may be your biggest blessing! Dr. Smith says, “If I never had a problem I would not know God could solve them.” If you hang on in God’s Will, he will give you double for your trouble! Then Dr. Smith spoke candidly, saying, “I know y’all prefer me to be professorial and educated.” Reminiscing on the sentiments of his grandma he continued, “My grandma taught me ‘If you’re happy and you know it, shout it out.’ Speaking about his personal experiences, Dr. Smith says, “I have a lot of questions for God about things that happened over the past 15 months!”
God allows us to come into His presence with our questions. Is it wrong to ask God questions? No! He already knows. Just be honest with Him! Breaking into song, “With Jesus I can take it, with Him I know I can stand. No matter what may come my way, my life is in your hands!” This courageous interrogation of God is something that surely shows how far Christianity and theology have come over the past half-century. Dr. Smith’s ability to push the envelope on such a divisive subject speaks to the direction in which House of Hope Atlanta is headed. Onward and upward! Join us next week at House of Hope Atlanta, 4650 Flat Shoals Pkwy, the sunrise service begins at 7:15 and the late morning service begins at 10:15! You will not want to miss it!
Inset Image: Joy105.com/HakimWilson