God’s Feelings; September 13, 2020

Genesis 6:6 The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

Some would insist that it’s just anthropomorphic fiction, but the Bible says many times that God has feelings. Anthropomorphism is attributing human characteristic to something that is not human, but the Bible also says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) That turns things around the other direction. Some philosophers, calling themselves theologians, have have insisted that God is the ultimate Other, that we can’t grasp Him because He is so different from us. I beg to differ. It is true that His thoughts and ways are far higher than ours, (Isaiah 55:8-9) but I remain convinced that many of our “uniquely human” characteristics come from the fact that God created us in His own image. God isn’t like us; we are in some ways like God. That explains the sanctity of human life, just as President Trump has repeatedly stated: “Every child, born and unborn, is created in the image of God.” Carrying that too far gets you thinking like the Greek and Roman Gods, who were said to have all the human foibles, just with more power. God, being infinite, is beyond our ability to grasp in entirety, but “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) God has chosen to reveal Himself to us His creation, and the ultimate expression of that is Jesus, who was fully human as well as being fully divine. And Josephus says that Jesus was noted for being quite emotional! Going back to this verse, it’s hard for us to grasp just how God, who knows the end from the beginning, could be grieved over something He had done. However, one of the few times I have “heard” God speak to me directly was over 25 years ago. I was lying in bed, not consciously praying but just thinking, “There are so many things I wish were different.” At that moment, as clearly as if it had been audible words, I heard in my heart, “How do you think I feel?” In that moment I realized that God was indeed grieved by many of the things in the world, but that wasn’t the end of the story. God always has a solution! That said, the logical thing is for us to be and do what will delight, and not grieve, our Creator.

This of course applies to me. It is always a temptation for preachers to feel their pronouncements apply to others and not to themselves. That’s the same thing we’re seeing with politicians ignoring the regulations they’re pushing on everyone else. I must not take things for granted, but renew my commitment to my Lord daily, and even moment-by-moment as necessary. At the same time, I’m not to be anxious about it all. It wasn’t so clearly as the incident I’ve mentioned, but the Lord has told me repeatedly to rest, relax, and rejoice, and my obedience is certainly pleasing to Him! I’m never to think God can’t identify with how I feel. Again as it says in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) I am to rejoice that Christ took on my limitations so that I may share in His glory. That is glorious indeed!

Father, thank You for this powerful, clear reminder. Thank You that You do understand me completely, and You love me anyway. Help me respond to Your love in total gratitude and obedience, so that You may be both pleased and glorified. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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