Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How He Loves His Children

 Want to hear an unpopular opinion?
 God doesn't love everyone.

 Before claiming i'm some sort of heretic that has no place making such a claim when the Bible clearly states that, "God is love," (1 John 4:8) please hear me out. What better place can we learn of God's characteristics than in the Bible? And when i look at the Bible, i see a doting Father, a caring Provider, and a loving Friend. He is those things. I also see a very jealous and wrathful God. For instance, i see Him ordering the Levites to draw their swords against the rest of Israel, mercilessly and violently killing their own brothers and friends (Exodus 32).
 He is jealous, and in His jealousy for His people, He will destroy anything that tries to come between the Church and Himself. A husband may turn to violent rage against the man who seduces and leads astray his wife, perhaps especially so if the other man happened to have once been his best friend. God hates evil and wickedness because it draws us away from Him, but He also hates the wicked who would turn us from Him because He is jealous.

 Psalm 2 starts by telling us that the kings and rulers have set themselves up against God's people. God's response isn't, "I love these wicked kings and will have compassion for them, and I shall make a covenant with them to prosper them." No, it actually says, instead, "He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision."

 Let me open this one up real quick; "He who sits in the heavens (God) laughs..."
 God sees them plotting against His people, and it entertains Him not because His people are being attacked, but because the nations rage and the people "...plot in vain." He sees them planning the destruction of Israel, and it makes Him laugh. He sees it, and gets a kick out of the fact that they plot in vain. Knowing their plans and efforts have already failed, He laughs.
 "... the Lord holds them in derision."
 Here's the first definition of derision: "contemptuous ridicule or mockery." God is contemptuous of them. He mocks these people. With contempt. He points His finger and snickers, saying, basically, "You're losing." And, again, this actually somewhat entertains God to know that those who would corrupt His people have failed miserably and pathetically.
 This isn't love towards these rulers and kings, so how do we justify God being love if He is the same God in the Old and New Covenants? Because He loves His people, that's how that question resolves. He doesn't want anyone to die (Ezekiel 18), but He is particular towards Israel.

"The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." (Psalm 5:5-6)
Here we have the statement that God hates all evildoers, and He abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful. Hates is a simple enough word. Sure, we can muddy it up with translations enough to where it means something like "favors less," but really, in this context, it means nothing other than intention of violence. What's more, abhorrence is hard to get lost in translation; it means to regard someone with disgust. I know what it's like to abhor someone quite well; i was embittered and resentful towards someone at one point that seeing them make my stomach turn, my heart rate to spike, my hands to tremble. It was unhealthy, but this is what it means to have abhorred them. And God abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.

 He hates. And violently.

 He loved the tribes of Israel. Greatly. They're the ones He chose to be His. But look a little closer, and you'll see that He picked the tribe of Levi out of them. He favored them to the point that He made them His cohanim, His priests. This was His favored tribe (favor implying favoritism). Israel was to be God's favorite country, Levi to be His favorite of the tribes, and Moses specifically to be His favorite Levite.
 He picked David from His brothers because He was a man after God's own heart; a man who, though he might stumble pretty badly, he would try, and he would try, and he would try, because he loved God. God favored David from his brothers.
 It was asked how God loved Israel, and He says, "Is not Esau Jacob's brother? Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated." (Micah 1)
 He distinguished between brothers which He loved and which He hated, and judged not by their father's actions but by theirs. This passage later speaks an entirely resentful view of Esau by God; Esau's country was destroyed and his legacy left to jackals, unclean and scavenging beasts. And should Edom have rebuilt, God says that He would have torn it back down. In fact, God says they are, "the wicked country," and "the people with whom the Lord is angry forever."

 And to really set things off, it would seem that we have a part to play in His disposition towards us.
 The modern Church may shriek at the thought, but our works are what actually define how God sees us, not just our faith. We are justified by faith, yes, but we are glorified by God by our works of faith. As example, i'll use David again; it was his desire to serve God that God saw and picked him for. It was the Levites' willingness to do anything for God that He chose them for. It was Job's faithfulness and devotion that made God say, "Him!" It was Joshua and Caleb's ferocity and reverence that God chose them to lead Israel for. It was Abraham's subjection that God made Him father of nations for. It was Isaiah's fervency in saying, "Here I am, Lord! Send me!" It was Daniel's staying strong in faith by acting on his faith that got him a death sentence--and favor.

 He loves, and His favoritism towards us is dependent on our humility before Him. And it's our works and sacrifices by faith that gain us that favor.
 Not only this, it is our works that make us loved or hated by God. If we are bloodthirsty, deceitful, wicked, evil, He will simply hate us. If we follow His law, obey His commandments, love as Christ loves, forgive, and get over "self," we will be loved by Him.
 He loves all of His children. And we are told by John that those who are not His children, the ones that do not practice righteousness, are children of the devil.

 And here i want to address a more personal matter; some think that, because one holds to these views, i am devoid of joy, or that i'm not as happy as i could be because i'm not seeing the positive side of things.
 One would be hard-pressed to find someone more enthralled with life than myself; i look at things, even tree leaves, pebbles, clouds, insects, animals; these things are beautiful and brilliant, and to think that God could -and by justice should- make my life a living Hell, mutilate me, annihilate me, and cause my life to slowly and painfully wither away, yet He blesses me, and lets me talk to Him, and He listens. How futile are possessions when you have a source of joy such as this! How exuberant this fascination makes me! How giddy am i knowing that the Maker of all things sees me, knows me, cares about me, loves me, calls me His!

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