Monday, July 28, 2014
July 28 – A watchful Father
O Lord, you examine me and know. You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away you understand my motives. You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; you are aware of everything I do. Certainly my tongue does not frame a word without you, O Lord, being thoroughly aware of it. (Psalm 139:1-4 NET)
We used this passage back on July 24th, but it is so powerful that I think it deserves another go around.
The Old Testament rarely refers to God as Father. That title became widespread only when the Lord Jesus came to earth and exclusively referred to Him in that manner. Before Jesus’ time on earth, God was not commonly seen as a Father. But David’s description of God in this psalm describes Him as the perfect Father. His constant care and watchfulness, and His interest in even the smallest details of our lives reveal a special relationship that is far more personal than judge or king.
Wouldn’t it be perfectly reasonable for God, who is perfect and holy, who knows all about our lives: when we sit down and when we get up, our motives from far away, aware of everything that we do, to just throw His hands up and walk away in frustration with the messes we keep getting ourselves into? Yet God is not only perfect in all of His actions and thoughts, He is perfect in mercy and compassion by caring for the weak and imperfect. (That’s us!) And that is a real Father. Real fathers don’t give up on their children because they’ve mismanaged their money, gone bankrupt, got wrapped up in addictions, or because they went through a divorce. True fathers never give up on their children because they belong to them, and they will always hope that their lives will change and that they will live to their full potential.
This is such an important concept, but one that needs balance. No matter what we’ve done wrong, or how our lives are right now, God is intimately aware of every single detail, and has a burning desire for us to be blessed, spiritually and physically. He is ready to forgive and erase the past and look to the future. He believes in our potential to a degree far beyond what anyone could match, and is ready to do anything to help us develop it. But… we need to be careful not to take advantage of this merciful, kind, forgiving side of God. Like any father, God needs to be loved, but He also needs to be “feared” — to be respected and treated with honor. Since He can understand our motives from far away, He knows when we are sincere, whether we’re trying to fool each other and whether we’re just trying to get what we want out of Him.
Let’s stop treating God like a common man, and start acting like He is the mighty, life-altering, merciful, kind God that He is. When we treat Him as if He has the weaknesses of a man who cannot forgive or see our true nature, not only do we insult Him, we lose out on His amazing power to transform our lives.