A Healthy Fear of the Lord

Psalm 86:15-16

15 But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me.
Give Your strength to Your servant;
save the son of Your female servant.

Our fatherless society is killing our perception of God.

Whether you like to admit it or not, your relationship with your father often alters the way you view God.  If your father was absent, you might find difficulty accepting that God is near and cares for your smallest concerns.  If your father was a temperamental dictator, you might view God as the angry deity in the sky waiting to pummel you with lightning bolts whenever you step out of line.  If your father was a softy and a pushover, you might find yourself living more loosely because God would never really punish you for breaking his rules.  If your father was simply a detached provider, you might find yourself accepting God’s blessing without ever desiring his company.

Most likely, God is a lot different than you father.  God’s plan is that your father imitate him (Eph. 3:14), but unfortunately, that rarely happens.  We rarely see a combination of both love and holiness.  While God has many attributes, theologians categorize all attributes under those two headings – love and holiness.

This description of God, first mentioned in Exodus, is repeated many times throughout Scripture.  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.  What is so shocking to us modern readers is that someone can be both compassionate and angry.

A common misconception is that Jesus of the New Testament was compassionate and the God of the Old Testament was angry.  How do you explain God’s constant rescuing of idolatrous Israel and how do you explain Jesus chasing religious people out of the temple with a whip?

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Nature vs. Nurture

 

1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 4 But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

(Galatians 4:1-7, HCSB)

Nature vs. Nurture

One of the most widespread fears of adoption is that parents are unsure of what “they are getting themselves into” with a child of unknown history.  Even if parents believe in the power of nurture, they may still have concern concerning the effect that nature had on the child.  Did the biological parents pass bad traits down to that child?  Have they experienced something that may make them difficult to raise?

But does a parent of a child really know what they “are getting” even with a biological child?  There are surprises at every turn.  The only parent who really knows what he is getting into is God.

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