With every choice, there is a consequence. Some choices yield great consequences. Play well in the game, and it might be enough to help my team win. Other choices, the less happy ones, give the harsher consequences. Forget to the pay the bill, suffer a fine, maybe even lose the service. Both types of consequences influence, even shape, my behaviour.
[God says,] “… but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness – and I will not lie to David – that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Psalm 89: 33-37 (NIV)
“But I’ll never throw them out, never abandon or disown them. Do you think I’d withdraw my holy promise? or take back words I’d already spoken? I’ve given my word, my whole and holy word; do you think I would lie to David? His family tree is here for good, his sovereignty as sure as the sun, Dependable as the phases of the moon, inescapable as weather.” Psalm 89:33-37 (MSG)
I sometimes carry that same consequence thought process into my relationship with God. If I do _____, then God will love me. If I accomplish _____, then He’ll look on me with favour. If I do _____, I might end up in his bad books. With those thoughts running through my head, I’m not living a life with God at all. I’m living in fear of Him, waiting for Him to drop His bigger-than-Thor’s hammer on me.
That’s the not the God I love.
My God is a God of justice. He cannot abide sin in His presence. In love, He gave His people the mandate within which to live their lives. Love God. Love others. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Matthew 22:37-40). Because I fall so incredibly far short of that expectation, there had to be a consequence. It was a final one. The payment for my sin was death (Romans 6:23). There’s nothing happy about that at all. My God could have stopped right there. He could have tossed His hands in the air and given up entirely.
Thank goodness He didn’t.
Instead, just like the Psalmist stated, “… I’ll never throw them out, never abandon or disown them” my God sticks with me. (Psalm 89:33 MSG) That’s my God. The One who is always in the rescuing business. The pursuer of my soul. The One who is not satisfied until I am in the proper and right relationship with Him. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to earn this position of His favour. No achievement that is good enough. No good deed that is righteous enough. No gift I can give that is worth enough. The key word is a relationship with Him. He doesn’t want me behind Him. Then I can’t see His face shining loving smiles on me. He doesn’t want me in front of Him. Then I take over and try to be in control and that’s a complete disaster. He wants me to be with Him. Face to face. Close proximity. So close that I feel how much His heart beats for me. With Him is a place of tenderness and security. With Him is to know His love poured bountifully over me. With Him is to rest in the shelter of His arms circled round about me. With Him is to yield my will to His direction because He knows the way far better than I ever will. With Him is to see Him fulfill His promises. As Skye Jethani (2017) recently stated, “Our Lord does not love with an agenda, and He does not love because of who we are. He loves because of who He is.”
That’s my God. The one who keeps His promises. Who wants to be with me. Who loves me. Who. Loves. Me.
Jethani, S. (2017) With God Daily: Why Jesus Heals [November 6, 2017 Devotional]. Retrieved from https://skyejethani.com/devotionals/