Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is Our God Too Harsh?

Some believe that we have a demanding God. Some even think he is unfair and too severe. Some can't accept that he is who is revealed in Scripture so they soften him up, make him gentler,change things up a bit and tell us that his love is too great to send anyone to hell. For them the cross wasn't a good enough plan so they preach that he is planning something even greater than the cross. But we won't go there right now because all I really want to say is that our Father is not very demanding at all.

From the very beginning he made it simple for us. He gave us one rule, which Adam and Eve could not manage to follow. It doesn't matter how complicated or simple it is, we are going to mess it up. So Yahweh hid himself until the time of Moses, to whom he revealed his name, his power and then his holiness through the Law. He knew we couldn't live the Law but he needed us to understand our imperfection before Jesus came. He gave a system of sacrifices to protect people as they realized how ugly they were to Yahweh. When Jesus came, he became the one and only sacrifice to cover all our imperfections. Our God is awesome.

From the beginning there was always one underlying simple truth that superseded everything else: Yahweh desired our free love. That is a love that is freely offered by a creation that has a choice. He wants obedience for sure, but he wants it to come from a heart that freely loves him; not from fear or intimidation. He wants us to have the freedom to reject him.

During the age of the kings, Yahweh was looking for one man who would obey from love. He was not looking for perfection but a leader who would give him his heart:

Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. (1 Kings 11:38)

David messed up a lot but he never stopped loving Yahweh. When he sinned he felt it deeply because it came against the love of his life. Much grace was given to David and Yahweh was willing to do that for anyone who would love him like David. David wasn't the greatest leader but no one loved like he did. And this is why we can never say we have a hard God; all he asks for is our love.

Sincere love requires action. Jesus said that if we loved him we would do what he commanded. We get it backwards; we try to obey in order to love. Jesus is not looking for perfection. He knew who he was dying for on the cross, he knew our weaknesses, but he desired that we would respond to his love by loving in return. That is Father's desire. The rest of it will follow; the obedience will come; Jesus is working it out and perfecting us, but it all comes from the desire of love.

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