The following verses make it clear that the God who governs this universe has feelings, is a personal being, and is emotionally moved by our good or bad choices:
Genesis 6:6 "And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart"; Isaiah 63:10 "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit"; Ephesians 4:30 "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption".
In addition, God is truly concerned about the choices that we do make, and He earnestly wants us to make the right choices:
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance"; 1 Timothy 2:4 "Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"; Deuteronomy 30:19 "So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants": Deuteronomy 5:29 "Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!"
Therefore, it is wrong to think of God as someone Who simply hands out rewards or punishments with no emotion, elation, concern, or sorrow for the person being rewarded or punished. God does care if we end up lost or saved, God cares if "I" end up lost or saved:
Luke 15:10 "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents"
We must reject the temptation to wallow in self-pity and tell ourselves, "Well, it really isn’t that important whether or not I make it to heaven".
God’s Father Heart
In the Bible God often reveals Himself to us as a Father and the faithful are His children (Matthew 6:9; Ps 103:13 "Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him".) Maybe we haven’t thought about this concept of God as our Father as much as we should. In order to understand how God feels about our choices, both good and bad, reflect upon how children can either cause their parents to rejoice or grieve (Proverbs 10:1 "A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother").
- God’s Father heart is seen in His insistence that we cast all our cares and worries upon Him, and that such prayers are never viewed as a nuisance or inconvenience (1 Peter 5:7). God, the Being who governs the universe and has His eye on every person, actually exhorts us to pray to Him without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
- God’s Father heart is seen in the fact that although there are billions of people on this earth, I am not lost in the crowd. God knows exactly where I am and what I have been doing. God has plenty of time for each child (2 Tim 2:18-19 " Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness").
- God’s Father heart is seen in His earnest desire to see that we make good choices, choices that will deliver us from evil consequences, and needless suffering. Jesus manifested the heart of His Father, when in observing the city of Jerusalem and the millions in it, He said, Luke 19:41-44 "And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. "For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation"; Matthew 23:37-39 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! "For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ' Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord !'"
- God’s Father heart is seen in the fact that He takes no pleasure in punishing people who are unfaithful, Ezekiel 18:30-32 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct," declares the Lord GOD. "Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. "Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live."
What Does God See In My Future?
The above passages really make you think. God can see into the future, and God can see the suffering that we can bring upon others and ourselves if we persist in a way that is evil. God longs to gather us under His wings and protect us from such things. God longs that we realize how much He loves us, and how good His commands are for our present and eternal happiness. God is trying to penetrate our hearts and appeal to that side in us that can be noble, selfless, kind, good, courageous, honest, and pure.
- At the present time are we making any choices that will only bring heartache and disaster in the future? What does God see in your future right now? Are we making any choices that are going to harm our marriages, our children, this congregation or our eternal destiny?
Is God Disappointed?
Mark 10:17-26 "And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. "You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up." And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Like this young rich man, we all have such great potential. Jesus liked what He saw in this religious, moral , young man. Yet, he refused to seize the tremendous opportunity that Jesus handed him. What about us? Is God disappointed in the little that we have done with His great blessings? Are we presently a disappointment to God, like Saul was in 1 Samuel 15:11 "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not carried out My commands." And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the LORD all night".
- Is God saddened by how we have neglected our marriage? Could He say to us, "Oh, the wonderful marriage you could have had!" Or, have we basically bought into the idea that what was meant to happen, did happen?
- Is God saddened by how poorly we have instructed our children?
- Is God saddened by how little we have talked to others about the gospel message, and how little we have studied our Bibles?
God Is Proud of the Faithful
It is clear that God takes great pleasure and satisfaction in people who serve Him faithfully. We see God beaming with pride concerning Job in the statement, Job 1:8 "And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil". We see the same pride when God speaks so highly of Job, Daniel and Noah, Ezek 14:14-15 "even though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves, "declares the Lord GOD". And God has the same pride for the faithful today, at the end of time, He will declare to all the faithful, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).
Just image how God felt, when a young Joseph said in the most trying circumstances, "How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9).
I hope we can stop thinking about ourselves so much and start thinking about how God feels about things. What could be a more noble purpose than to make your Creator proud? What could be a higher honor, than for the Creator to say, "Well done"? What could be a higher appreciation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the price that God paid for our salvation, than to say thank you every day with our words and our deeds?
Is any supposed "need" worth hurting the people who love you? Looking back on the time when you were a child, was any "need" you had worth hurting your parents? Do you regret the things that you did or said when consumed with self-interest? It isn’t too late to start putting changing our thinking, and we can put the things of God ahead of ourselves (Matthew 6:33; Galatians 2:20).
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017