… "Here Comes The Pride: How to recognize and defeat the stealth sin," in the Discipleship Journal, #105, May-June 1998.
"Many of us are guilty of this practical atheism. While we profess faith, we live unbelief. We shift ultimate confidence from God to ourselves. In the process, our lives become monuments of self-reliance, universes from which God has been Squeezed. Sure, we believe in Him. But actively rely on Him? Naah."
Psalms 10: 1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? [why] hidest thou [thyself] in times of trouble?
Psalms 22:1-2 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (quoted by Jesus on cross)
Psalms 22:11 Be not far from me; for trouble [is] near; for [there is] none to help.
Psalms 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
Other times God seems distant because he really is.
He must separate himself from us due to our un-repented sin.
Proverbs 15:29 The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
God can even be far from "religious" people, whether they sense it or not.
“ religious” people are those that go through the motions when their heart is not in it…
Matthew 15:8-9 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. (Jesus)
It can help to humbly recognize this before God:
(11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are] , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
(12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
(13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
(14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
God the Father was even distant from his Son, Jesus.
1) When Jesus hung on the cross, he felt completely forsaken and cut off from his loving Father.
2) He was genuinely cut off, but it was because the sins of the world - our sins - were being placed on him.
Distance can give us a different perspective on things.
The God who seems distant may suddenly come close.
He may decide to deliver us from intractable problems.
Psalm 10:14 - Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Other problems we have will never be solved in this life.
We can dream about them, and hope for them, but never attain them.
Deuteronomy 32:52 Yet thou shalt see the land before [thee]; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.
The "Heros of Faith" in Hebrews 11 had this "far-sighted“ perspective.
It was so far-sighted they did not even overcome their problems in this lifetime.
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
The song implies God doesn't, and can't, do anything more than "watch."
This would reflect a philosophy called "Deism."
a) Deism teaches that God exists, he created the world, but he no longer gets involved in it.
b) Humanity is on their own.
The Bible clearly teaches that God can be close to us.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Mark 12:32-34 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God…
Sometimes he even draws near when we don't seek him, because he loves us so much.
Acts 17:27-28 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.