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  • Writer's pictureDarren T

This Changes Everything!

Why would God ever care about us or want anything to do with us? I wouldn't if I were Him!


Think about it, an Omnipotent God, All Knowing and All Powerful actually gives two hoots about me - about any human for that matter?


This sentiment appears to be reflected in the words of Psalm 8, (v.4) of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them? Of what importance is mankind, that you should pay attention to them? (NET)


Some time ago a friend at work sent me a video of a Jewish Rabbi that has sparked within me a new perspective on this issue. (Rabbi Mani Freidman)


This rabbi made some interesting observations. The Jews have often been credited for giving the world monotheism (One God) in contrast to polytheism (Many Gods). However, the real benefit that the Jews gave the world was a concept of God being a PERSON not an object. A Being that has feelings, preferences, wants, desires and yes, even "needs".


He went on to show that even Adam, made in the Image and Likeness of God living in the purity of Eden, before sin had even come into the world - felt the pangs of loneliness and the need for companionship (Gen 2:18,20) and God declared this to be a natural and good need. Did this very early realisation by God's initial image bearer give us an insight into God Himself?


God had made this image bearing human, in HIS own image, with a capacity (in fact a need) for relationship, for interaction, for covenant.


I was very pleased to come across a similar observation regarding Genesis 2 in a Christadelphian Bible Commentary:


"Is it also true that it was/is not good for GOD to be alone?


We often mention that Adam and Eve in the garden are a pattern of Christ and the Bride/church. But before there was Christ and the Church, there was the Father and "Israel"... also patterned by Adam and Eve.


If God reveals that it was not good for Adam to be alone, but that he needed a companion... surely it was a patterned or figurative way of saying, "It is not good for ME to be alone... l must have a companion!"


And all of God's work from that day to this, especially involving His Son, has been for that express purpose: of creating a "companion" (actually, a company of companions) for His eternal fellowship. That is what the "new creation" is all about.


Look at it another way: (1) If our own observation/experience shows us how unsatisfactory life can be if lived entirely alone, with no regard for or fellowship with others, and how much we need companionship, personal and spiritual and sympathetic and loving... and (2) If we are made in the image and likeness of God, then... reasoning backward... it is not good that God Himself be alone either!


I remember some years ago a young sister asking in a Bible class: "Why does God love me?" The question passed with perfunctory discussion, and I at first dismissed it from my mind as of no great consequence. But then the question came back to me again later... and it suddenly seemed to be of enormous import: "WHY does God love me?" Not just the fact of His love, but the rationale behind it! I finally came to the conclusion that: God loves me because He needs someone to love, and He needs someone to love Him... and that somehow even the Omnipotence of the Universe would be incomplete without the love, freely given, of His creation!"


The Agora Bible Commentary http://christadelphianbooks.org/agora/comm/index.html

Bro. George Booker (date unknown)


Admittedly, the idea of God having "needs" initially found it hard work to get through my own presuppositions. Isn't God the self-existing, changeth not, creator of all things?


For centuries Theologians have formulated Principles based on God's Self Sufficiency, including the official Doctrine of Divine Aseity, God needs nothing or no one. (Psa. 24:1, Job 41:11, Psa. 50:10-12, Acts 17:24-25 etc.)


This of course is true at an existential level. However, there is a difference and a similarity between needs and wants.


Most of us would agree that God has wants and desires. We as humans have needs without which we could not survive.


For example a need for food and water. Our very existence is dependent on these needs. God has no such needs.


However, we also have needs for other things such as companionship, friendship, interaction.


We can exist without these needs but our lives would be stunted.


They seem to be more than wants or desires, they affect our existence in a very profound and significant way - even though, technically we could survive and exist without them. At some level a desire or want can be considered a need.


God's essential character (as revealed to us in Exodus 33 and 34) contain relational characteristics as part of His very self. The most well known of these include 'Hesed' (Relationship Love) and 'Emet' (Relationship Faithfulness). God's very essence requires interaction and relationship.


God also has revealed Himself to us in human terms. God is depicted as having a face, eyes, hands, ears etc. Traditionally our community has taken these representations rather literally and maintained the idea of the corporality of God.


In more recent decades revelations in physics and cosmology among other things has, as it were, "blown our minds" and recalibrated our whole conceptualization of God.


Today most Bible students take these literary representations to be "Anthropomorphic" (Giving God human form) and representations of His emotions and decision making such as jealousy, repenting, sorrow, regret, rejection etc. as "Anthropopathic (Giving God human emotions).


Whatever the final literality of these representations turn out to be, the fact remains that God has chosen to represent Himself to us as such. Why? To test our linguistic and literary skills? or to make Himself relatable in a way that we can identify with, imagine, tangibly relate to, empathise with and vividly feel?


Why go to this trouble? He obviously wants us to think of Him and relate to Him in these relational and emotional terms.


We Can Change God!


Another thing to think about is the fact that we humans, can actually change God's emotions.


The very word emotion contains within it the word 'motion'. If we change God's emotions we are in fact moving or changing Him.


But weren't we always told "God changeth not"? How could puny little humans have any real impact on the great God of the universe?


What gives God Pleasure? His People!


Psalm 147:11 God does not take pleasure in the strength of horses or the power of human might but He takes pleasure ('ratash' enjoyment, delight) in 'those' - people, who fear him and hope in His relational love ('Hesed')


Psalm 149:4 We are encouraged to dance, sing, be joyful and play our tambourine and lyre, For, God takes pleasure ('ratash' enjoyment, delight) in His people.


The New Testament has similar insights,


Luke 12:32 It is God's pleasure ('eudokia' delight, satisfaction) to give us the kingdom


Philippians 2:13 God is working in our lives to give Him pleasure ('eudokia' delight, satisfaction)


Just becoming aware of the fact that the great eternal God of the universe takes actual pleasure in His interactions with us humans (We actually give God pleasure!) is a game changer for me.


The "Missing" Element


In the past my preaching and personal witness has not really focused on this aspect. Even in my formal preaching when presenting lectures and seminars this aspect has been definitely missing.


Compare this to the preaching of the Apostle Paul. In Acts 17 he is witnessing about God to pagan philosophers who have absolutely no Bible background, living in the city of Athens.


I can definitely identify with the beginning of his presentation focusing on God as the creator and with the end where he talks about a day in which God will judge the world and bring to bear on the world the rule of His son whom He resurrected from the dead.


However, in between these two points are some really interesting words that had up until now not featured prominently in my preaching.


Acts 17:27 God has made mankind for a reason;

  1. To Seek Him

  2. To Feel after Him

  3. To Find Him

These three items appear to be stages.

God is asking all men to seek Him. It appears that seeking God is a state of mind or a life mission. As we concentrate on seeking Him we appear to have some success - we 'feel after Him'.


The phrase 'feel after him' is the Greek word 'pselaphao' and means to feel or handle.


Some commentators illustrate this phrase as a blind person groping for structure to guide them forward.


To me there seems to be a progression in these stages. The final stage to 'find Him' ('heurisko' To Discover or Obtain) is the end of the process. One imagines this is either experienced now in small glimpses or remains a life objective to be experienced in its fullness in the future.


The basis of this life objective is the fact that God Himself,


  1. Is 'not far from each of us' - a perspective altering fact in itself

  2. In Him we live, move and have our very being - In some way God is not just close to us but we exist and live 'In Him'!

  3. We are His offspring


Point 3 takes us back to our earlier thoughts. As His children, God has made us in His image and Likeness, made with a need to interact, a need for companionship and need for connection. Especially a need to know and interact with our offspring and parents.


This is the point of preaching. Just stating that God made the world and ending with a declaration that God has appointed a day is not the complete message, the meat is in the middle, the power is in the hub.


We are inviting people to seek Him, to touch Him, to find Him - to connect and interact with our Father God - this appears to be His very reason for it all!


This Changes Everything


For me, these ideas have been life altering. Instead of the aloof detached view of a 'Self Sufficient' God somewhere 'up there', we have a relational God, committed to connecting with us - not far from any of us.


A God who considers us His offspring, made like Him with a need to interact and relate.


It's no longer what I can get from God, be that, salvation, wisdom, power or purpose (these things are still available of course) but now it's about what I can give to Him.


God is already 'here'. He wants us to respond, to acknowledge Him, to be present with Him.


May I suggest starting each day with these words?


My heavenly Father - I am here, in your presence.

Help me to seek you, to feel after you, to find you

Never leave me - I need You in my life

I am Yours

You are my God

I love You

I rejoice in Your presence.

Amen


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1 comentario


adam
02 ene 2022

Thanks Darren


this is an extremely encouraging perspective


both simple in concept and profound in its truth and personal impact


connects with the explanation in the good book about His intention from “before the foundation”……to have a son, to have a people, and to have a place for all to dwell together


even before creation He intended and planned relationship


beautiful


thank you

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