The Character of God as Father Pt 5: The Father who knows our hearts, even when we don’t

 

Sometimes what seems random in God’s dealings with individuals throughout the Bible is anything but.  Its easy for us to see Biblical characters as fictional or allegorical, but these were very real people who God knew by name.  Some of them were and are so dear to Him that He displayed mercy to their children just because He remembered them.  I’m sure you can relate to that, the concept of being so fond of someone that you are fond of their children and grandchildren simply because you loved them so much.  And it is vitally important that we see them as real, because to our heavenly Father, who dwells in eternity, outside of time, Abraham isn’t a distant memory, Abraham was God’s friend (2 Chr 20:7, Is 41:8).  So it is important that we treat these Biblical people with respect, not glossing over their sins, because we must learn from them, but not being critical of them either.  David wouldn’t even criticize King Saul, so I am very reticent to speak ill of those who God loves very deeply.

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Some people say that God simply loves who He loves, but the scriptures tell us that He is a searcher of the heart and kidneys, our motives and secret thoughts that are even hidden from us.  I know that I am often shocked when He points out an area of sin to me — just recently He showed me how much I grumble, and I was utterly floored at how blind I was to something that must be painfully obvious to everyone else.  It is not the kind of person I desire to be, but it is the kind of person I have been all my life, so when He pointed it out I repented and I have spent a grueling two weeks now learning to live differently.  Now, why did He bother to tell me at all?  Why didn’t He just rebuke me?  Because He knew that although my ego was deceiving me by hiding my shameful behavior, I would want to change my behavior.  He knows my heart, He knows that the most important thing to me is becoming conformed to His image so that I can represent His character accurately.  That doesn’t mean I was thrilled to hear the news, it doesn’t mean that my ego didn’t protest, it just means that He knows that I am becoming the type of person who really does care about His approval.  This despite the fact that I still struggle with sin and many flaws in my character.

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I bring that up as an example of how He really does know us better than we know ourselves.  He knows the areas I am wanting to give in to Him and He knows the areas I still tend to withhold from Him.  In those areas He does not treat me in the same way, because again, He knows my heart.  He knows when He has to be harsh and when He can be gentle.  He knows when to guide and when to discipline.  And my areas are completely different than the areas of others.

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Cain and David both committed murder, and both were seemingly content to go and live out their lives afterwards, but they were treated very differently.  Although David’s sins were greater — not only did he commit adultery, but then he conspired to trick a man into thinking that he was the father of Bathsheeba’s child, and when that didn’t work he had him betrayed and killed, so he broke four commandments — when confronted and brought down to earth again, by a prophet, he repented.  Cain killed his brother in anger, and when confronted by God Himself, he did not repent.  Interestingly enough, Cain was given a warning beforehand that he was in danger of sinning and David was not given a warning.  The answer why is simple — David had the greater maturity, he didn’t need to be warned.  David was King, Psalmist and Prophet.  Cain was the first kid on earth.  Both were given consequences, very different consequences, but again, the consequences were based upon their hearts and upon their response to correction.  Cain was driven away, his entire way of life stripped from him, while David remained King but spent the rest of his life living with the consequences of the treachery he brought into his bloodline.

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So when we look at different Biblical accounts, we have to realize that God the Father is absolutely consistent, doing what it right given the heart condition of each person.  We rely on what is seen, but He judges on what is unseen.  So when we see two people do similar things but receiving dissimilar consequences, we have to look deeply into what that says about the things we can’t see — their motives, their heart, their attitudes, and not necessarily their words.  Talk is cheap, and we can say “I love you” with a knife hidden behind our backs, ready to strike, just as we can openly brandish a knife we have no intention of using.  Appearances are deceiving and only a fool is ruled by them.

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How does this relate to ourselves and how we look at the things that come into our lives?  It is a common Christian misconception to attribute all blessings to God and all curses to the Enemy — except when bad things happen to the people we hate and then we attribute their blessings to the work of the devil and the curses to God’s justice.  But what if, just what if the bad things in our lives ARE the blessings delivered to us by the hand of a loving Father who wants to use adversity to refine us?  What if we start embracing the bad as an opportunity to do righteousness in the midst of it? What if we look at prosperity as something that might be a trap and a snare?  Now, I am not saying it is bad to have success and money, or that it is always good when bad things happen — but we need to really change our perspective of how God operates because He truly does know our heart, He knows our hidden motives, He knows the things that we either ignore about ourselves or are genuinely blind to.  Take my grumbling and complaining for an example.

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I had a dream where I had been diagnosed with a debilitating disease that was going to eat away at me, it was fatal.  I went to two people about it, and I complained to the first person. Then I went to another person I know personally who was just diagnosed with a debilitating disease and you want to know what she was doing?  She was complaining about a certain teacher of the Hebrew Roots of Christianity.  I woke up incredibly confused and very frightened that I had MS or Lupus or something.  But I tucked it away and  took my son to Costco.

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While I was there, I passed the sausages and muttered a complaint in my mind that “every frikken thing has pork around here.”  And it struck me like a bolt of lightening, just that morning I had been reading the Torah portion to my kids and once again, the children of Israel were grumbling and complaining and making comments.  My boys always roll their eyes and say, “Oh my gosh, not again!”  And I warn them not to judge the Israelites, because we all complain too — but I only meant it in the general sense, I had never really examined myself too closely.  But I was struck all at once with the awareness that not only had I muttered and grumbled about something that it was pointless to complain about, but I do it all the time all day every day about so many things I can’t even list them all — the kids, politics, pain, etc….  If I am irritated, I am complaining.  And its a terribly debilitating disease, and it kills, and it does not reflect the character of God.  Its just wretched and there was no excuse I could offer, only repentance.

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Now, why was I given this warning in such a, frankly, compassionate way?  Why not send someone personally to embarrass me? Why not just strike me down with pain and suffering so I’d really have something to complain about (because I got the feeling from the dream that if I did not repent, that was what was in store for me, for continuing to misrepresent His character towards the people in my life)? After all, He struck down thousands of Israelites in the desert for grumbling, just like I was grumbling.  And honestly, I know now that when I am grumbling about my life I am really grumbling that He hasn’t provided me with what I want, when I want it, the way I want it.  But here’s the deal, I was truly ignorant as I was doing it.  No matter how irritating it was to the people around me who must have seen me as just an ungrateful wretch, it never occurred to me that I was murmuring against God.  Rebellion was not in my heart, ingratitude was not my intention.  I was just ignorant because I had been doing it for so long that I was operating on autopilot, and He knew it.  A lot of our sins against charity and grace fall into that category.  But in my heart of hearts, I want to serve God and be under His authority very badly, even though I still struggle with my flesh.

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So what of the Israelites who complained in the wilderness?  Well, God the Father is absolutely fair.  He had just delivered them from slavery, they saw the plagues and walked through the sea.  They received food from Heaven and water from rocks.  I have to believe that rebellion and ingratitude were in their hearts, and that their motives were to throw off that divine yoke and rule over themselves.  They wanted Him as God, as long as they got what they wanted, when they wanted it and how they wanted it.  They wanted a God who would serve them.

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Once we realize that God knows the truth about us, and that we can’t lie to Him or fool Him,  well that makes a lot of people terrified, but it shouldn’t, not exactly.  Yeshua (Jesus) said this.

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John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

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For as terrible as you think you are right now, you were worse when the Father took notice of you, when He decided to love you and draw you to His Son.  He could have destroyed you or ignored you, He saw the darkness in your life – but He must have also seen something else, some spark of something in your heart that longed for Him to rule over you, to save you and change you.  You weren’t fooling Him then and you aren’t fooling Him now.  He sees you for exactly who you are, right now. But that also means that you can absolutely trust Him, and more than that, you can use His knowledge to show you things about yourself that your flesh would never allow you to see.  Ask Him to show it to you, ask Him to do whatever He has to in order to bring you to a place where you are willing to start having Him work with you to fix it and then cooperate.  Remember, Yeshua said that the Father was the one who drew you, not Yeshua.  Yeshua is our salvation, but He isn’t the reason you came to be saved, the Father is.

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Angry, vengeful, bloodthirsty — those are the constant accusations leveled at our Father by those who only want to read what’s on the surface or who just listen to what people say about Him, or by those who have no other concept of what the word father means.  But it’s not Yeshua with His arms wide open welcoming the Prodigal Son home, it’s the Father.  We’ve been scared because He searches our hearts, when it should have instead provided us with hope. We’ve hated that He sees our every sin, but in the midst of that sin He led us to salvation.  A lot of us mocked Him and lied about Him and taught others to do the same, and we listened to people slander Him and we laughed.  And He was back at the farm, waiting for us to come to Him, and not just waiting for us.
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Luke 15: 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

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He ran for us.

 

Copyright Darlene Dine, reproduction without permission is prohibited
Copyright Darlene Dine, reproduction without permission is prohibited
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5 Comments


  1. How awesome is that? ~ All I can say: “awesome!”
    Thank You for showing us your heart, dear Elizabeth ♥

    Reply

  2. Oh Elizabeth (redundant, I know, ’cause I always say that), but thank you again!!!! \o/

    Reply

  3. Thank you for this beautiful clarification of Who our Father REALLY is 🙂 Beautiful!!

    Reply

  4. Todah, this was very helpful and right in time just before the spring feasts. It is okay to share right? I saw a note no sharing without written permission *after* I came back from already sharing on Fb, twitter and g+.I can go back and delete if necessary. Just need clarification. Shalom, Shell

    Reply

    1. oh that was referring to Darlene’s artwork, can’t reproduce that without her permission 🙂

      Reply

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