“Luke 12:32 is a verse about the nature of God. It’s a verse about what kind of heart God has. It’s a verse about what makes God glad—not merely about what God will do or what he has to do, but what he delights to do, what he loves to do, and what he takes pleasure in doing. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
(Love to the Uttermost Holy Week Devotional, p. 2)
I am wrong about a lot of things… and often. As I read the above from the Holy Week devotional, I asked the Lord to examine my heart and see if I was wrong about this one wondrous thing. Because of all things to be wrong about, the nature of God is pretty major – maybe the most major thing to be wrong about in all of life. A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Many people view the nature of God as one they must hide from at the risk of being smitten or they reject that God must be hidden from and stand defiantly in opposition.
The former view of God is a fearful one that hides not only from God’s judgment but also from His blessing. The latter view is a boastful one that defiantly exposes oneself to God’s judgment but also rejects His blessing with clenched fist raised high.
Can we hide from God – from His judgment or His blessing?
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,
”even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139:1-12, ESV)
No, we cannot hide from God. We can find the deepest cave, the most secret tunnel, the most remote island and He will find us. The world and everything in it is His. We can never run so far that we are beyond His gaze. If He desires, His judgment will find us as easily as His blessing.
Can we defy God’s judgment and reject His blessing?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17, ESV)
No, we cannot defy God. We cannot erase the righteous wrath of God by closing our eyes and raising our fists. He created us and imprinted His name on our hearts as a trademark of His craftsmanship. He will pour out His wrath and His blessing whether the world receives them with eyes open or closed.
There is no hiding from God and there is no defying God. But, if we understand the true nature of God, we will not want to hide or defy Him.
the kingdom is a wondrous thing
In Luke 12:32, we read that it is God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. God, in His very nature, is delighted to give us the most precious and beautiful and costly thing – Himself.
Today is Palm Sunday, when we remember that Jesus rode triumphantly on a humble donkey into the city that would betray Him. He had set his face like flint toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), determined to submit to the Father’s will and experiencing the joy set before Him as He endured the scorn (Hebrews 12).
It is futile and foolish to hold up clenched fists in defiance of this kind of precious, beautiful, costly love, but it is also foolish to hide from it. The enormity of God’s glory is a weighty and scary thing, but God purposed to cast out all fear with His perfect love (1 John 4:18) when He sent Jesus to satisfy His wrath for those He had chosen.
The cross uncovers a Father who provided a way for His creation to be reconciled, but not out of obligation or master schemery. His provision was not a plan B or a compromise. He did not need to make provision that any would be reconciled.
The Father provided a way for His creation to be reconciled because He is in His nature good and merciful, tender-hearted and loving.
God gave the kingdom to His creation willingly because it brought Him great delight. He gave His children the kingdom – His Son – out of the kind of joy we don’t have room in our brains to understand. His glorious face shone with pleasure when His Son paid the ransom due for His children to be reconciled to Him. Can you imagine? The God of the universe delighting in you coming home, delighting in the sacrifice of His own Son so that you could come home?
Both hiding from and defying God are rooted in fear. And fear (the unrighteous kind) has no place in God’s reconciliation mission of our souls.