Deity “hearts” you, me, everyone

A most incredible truth in the universe is that God “hearts” each one of us.

What?

We are talking about an all-powerful, unstoppable BEING, and saying that he knows and cares about each of the estimated 7.8 billion mortals inhabiting this globe? Selah! [“Selah” means “take a break and ponder it”].

Honestly, this is more than our 1.5 kg (3.3 lb.) brains can comprehend. Trips the circuit breakers.

Time to realize that HeDeity – has infinite capacity. Mental capacity, focus, attention span, all are unlimited and inexhaustible with Him. The Bible describes God as authentically relational and responsive toward human beings. He can engage with each man, woman, and child fully at the same time. Recognize God’s relational nature.

Has the Lord forgotten us? “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you. See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind …” Isa. 49:14-16.[1]

From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.” Isa. 43:13.

BUTTTTTT

How, how, how could there be so much injustice and suffering in this world? If God “hearts” us, wouldn’t He fix everything that is wrong? These are burning, legitimate questions. Let’s see if HE answers them for us.

Some of the most significant episodes in human history are provided to us in the early chapters of the Bible, Genesis chapters 1 – 3. They form the bedrock for understanding life as we find it on planet earth.

  • God did not delegate the work of creating us. He Himself created us humans. He did so not only by handcrafting our amazing physical bodies, but He also went “mouth to mouth” to breath his very own eternal life into us![2] We humans are the only ones of whom He says, we are “created in God’s image.”[3]
  • He placed us in a wonderful, fault-free environment.[4]
  • He wanted to develop us humans within a relationship of trust and understanding of Him.
    The first step toward this was a simple way for humans to show respect and obedience. There was one thing Creator withheld for Himself. One fruit tree that his image bearers were respect and reserve only for Him.[5] We had all the reason in the world to honor Deity by obeying, but instead, we began millenniums of rebellion. Humankind lost all purity, and descended from bad to worse, and is still going downhill.[6]
  • And every day, all of us suffer the consequences, sometimes horrible consequences, of our insurrection. Killing, looting, theft, gender-based violence, racial-based oppression, religious persecution, etc. etc. etc. have their genesis in this first rejection of God’s authority and goodness.

What has Deity done about this?

Deity has gone far beyond expectation. Rather than obliterate us obstinate rebels, He left His glorious throne and came down to this infected planet. He entered this world as A HUMAN BABY!  Recalibrate this in your thinking.

Deity planted Divine sperm in a young girl who carried Him to full term. Mary gave birth to this Divine-human like any other human baby. Let this bounce around in your 1.5kg (3.3lbs) of grey-cells!  

Angelic beings lit the sky to announce this birth.[7] Deity shifted even some stars to proclaim the news.[8]  

This divine/human grew like other boys and earned the respect of all.[9]

As an adult he walked the country sides and towns, interacting with people of all classes, cultures, and reputations.[10] He showed interest and solidarity with everyone. Mothers were attracted to bring their young children to be held by him.[11] Outcast women found him to be a safe haven.[12] Blind, paralyzed, lepers, infirmed, were healed by him.[13]

Religious heads were jealous and frightened by his popularity. Jesus went to Jerusalem at the busiest time of the year, and purposely inflamed their fear and hatred of him.[14] He often told his close companions that would be killed by these authorities, be buried for a brief time, then resurrect to life again.[15]

This is how much Deity “hearts” you, me, everyone! He died a horrible physical death before the eyes of family, friends, and enemies.[16] But he suffered much worse. Deity on earth called out to Deity above and said, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”[17] Deity broke![18] The God/man was banished, abandoned, rejected for three hours of earthly time (but something incalculable in Divine “time”).[19]                                        

You, me, all our family members, friends, associates, neighbors, and even our enemies and strangers on the street and in the marketplaces, are both: 1, The direct cause of Deity suffering untold turmoil (We are guilty of murder+). 2, The potential beneficiaries of that Love Act.[20] (We are forgiven, able to engage with Deity, become his children through facing our guilt and accepting His transcending offer of forgiveness and restoration to a new life has His children.

“God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” Acts 2:22-24.

“Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent. You are witnesses of these things.’” Luke 24:46-48.

I wish I could say that Jesus’ followers have done an exemplary job of representing Him and displaying the same love, equity and service as Him. But the story of Christianity is a mishmash of highs and lows and everything in between.  But let’s not look at Christianity as a movement or a cause. See and ponder the revelation of Deity to all humankind. Deity sent his SON to this planet to make a way of peace and reconciliation. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Cor. 5:19-21.

Please consider the implications of what is stated here. Deity truly does “heart” you, me, everyone more than we can fathom.

This article is part two in a three part series. Part one is found here: https://heardivinewords.com/2020/12/17/lets-apprehend-hope/

Next week we will look what has been called the Five Love languages, and how Deity uses each of these 5 languages to declare his love to us again and again and again.

Blessings!


[1] All Bible quotations are from the New Living Translation.

[2] “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” Gen. 2:7.

[3] “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.’” Gen. 2:27-28.

[4] Eden, Gen. 2:8.

[5] Gen. 2:15-17.

[6] Gen. 3:7-8, 14-19, 21, 22-24; 4:8; 6:5-7; 11:4, 6-8 ???`

[7] Luke 2:8-15.

[8] Mat. 2:1-11.

[9] Luke 2:52.

[10] Even his band of 12, who stuck with him for 3 long years, was diverse group. A political zealot (Mat. 10:4), a political traitor (Mat. 10:3), fisherman (Mat. 4:18-22), and a thief and betrayer (John 12:4-6).

[11] Mat. 19:13-14.

[12] Luke 7:36-50, Luke 8:1-3; John 4:6-42; Mark 5:24-34; Luke 10:38-39

[13] Luke 11:4-6; Mark 10:46-52; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:12-14; Mat. 4:23

[14] Mat. 21:45-46; Mark 14:1-2; John 7:30-32; Mat. 23.

[15] Mat. 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:17-19.

[16] Mat. 27:31, 33-37, 54-56; John 19:25-27.

[17] Mark 15:33-34.

[18] Human language fails us here. Theologians will ask me to recant and denounce this description. They will vehemently say “Deity can’t break!” I will answer, “Nor can deity die. Nor can Holy Trinity be divided. Nor can Deity forsake Deity.” What happened that afternoon on a hill outside Jerusalem is above and beyond our comprehension and description. But the message, the impact, the relational meaning is inescapable. Deity “hearts” you, me, everyone to a degree that is inexplicable in human terms. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8.

[19] As stated in the previous footnote. We are talking about truths beyond our comprehension. Like a colony of ants trying to discuss quantum physics.

[20] Deity does not make peoples’ decisions for them; this is why we are “potential beneficiaries.” Deut. 30:19; Josh. 24:14-15; Rom. 6:16.

Crucial Decision

Crucial Decision (As reported by Tychicus )

No one could remember when or where or how it started. No one could pinpoint its cause. But when talking things over afterward, each member of HQ could remember a feeling, a mood, an atmosphere that began to develop. They knew there was something that needed to be done, but no one wanted to face it.

It was Onesimus himself who brought it up. It was one quiet afternoon when we were all sitting together. He said to all of us.

“These past months I have seen time and time again that the Gospel is a power that transforms lives. I see it in all of you. I see it in the street boys and gang leaders. I see dramatic changes taking place that only God could do. And I know that God is doing this in me too, but there is something blocking me from going further. I have badly injured a fellow brother in Christ. I need to go home and face my master before I can ever be fully transformed in Christ. Regardless of what the consequences might be, I must make things right with Master Philemon, whatever that costs.”

We were all shocked at the spiritual maturity of this young man. He hit the nail on the head. Our Lord Jesus Himself declared that a right relationship with God depends on a right relationship with others. He said, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23-24.

The group started talking and we wish someone had recorded it. In fact, it is I, Tychicus, who should have done this. But anyway, the following conversation is how I remember it.

Paul:  Son, we are humbled by your maturity. The truth is, I think we were all aware that this time would come, that it must come. But you are such a help and blessing to us that it will be hard to see you go.

Epaphras:  But wait, I know Philemon, he is a good man. He is committed to Gospel ministry just like we are. Couldn’t we just write to him and tell him how much we need his slave here and that through Onesimus he, Philemon, is having a great impact here in Rome?

Several members spoke up in support of this idea, but as the conversation went on we all knew this was not the way our Lord wants things done. God does things face-to-face. He didn’t send an angel to rescue us, he didn’t announce a decree from heaven that “all is forgiven”, he came himself. He came in person and was face-to-face with those who murdered him. That includes each of us, because we are all guilty of sin. Onesimus is right, he needs to right his wrongs himself.

Onesimus:  Thank you for your confidence in me. What I have shared with you today has been in my mind for a long time. I am ready to face the music. My master has the right to punish me as harshly as he likes. And I deserve full punishment.

Dr. Luke:  With Philemon being a believer like us we can hope and pray that he will be lenient, but he is in a difficult position. If he outright forgives you, it will send a difficult message to all the masters and slaves of Lycus valley. It will be expected that every Christian slave owner never punish their slaves and slaves will take advantage of it. We all agree that slavery is a bad thing, but our whole society and economy are dependent on it.

And this is when Paul interrupted with a thunderstorm of emotion.

Paul:  I wish that all slavery would be eradicated forever! Slavery is anti-God. God did not create human beings in His Own Image for them to be mere property of others. God is a free and living being. All who bear his image should also be free. I speak so strongly, gentlemen, because I come from a people who have long tasted the bitter and crippling life of slavery. We were slaves to Egypt for 400 years. We were captured and made slaves by Assyria and Babylon. And we continue to live like slaves to the mighty empire of Rome. I cry for all men to be free, so how can I allow my special son, here, to voluntarily accept the position of slave again.

We knew Paul well enough by now to understand this outburst. He wasn’t speaking as a social analyst or political theorist. He was speaking as a man with incredible love for individuals and the world as a whole. Paul is a man driven by this love. He hates sin, because it is an offence to God and a destroyer of people’s lives. He hates slavery because it is an offence to God and a destroyer of people’s lives. However, even while so emotional as Paul could be, we all knew that he is driven not by his emotions, but by his desire to do the will of God. But there was only one man in the room with the status and maturity to speak next. It was up to him to pick his words carefully.

Dr. Luke:  Thank you, Paul, for revealing your heart. We all agree with you, and we pray that in time slavery will be abolished. But let us focus on what is right before us. There is a brother in Colossae who has been wronged. There is a brother here who wronged him. These two must be reconciled. Can we pray and ask our good Lord to direct us?

Just asking the question was enough to find us all on our knees in serious prayer. Each one prayed from deep within our hearts and with tears in our eyes. No one knows how long we prayed. When our voices quieted down and silence took over, it was obvious the Lord told us that indeed Onesimus must leave us and return to his master and face whatever fate awaited him. It was late at night but no one thought of sleep or what awaited tomorrow. After a long pause, Paul spoke in a quiet voice.

Paul:  Jesus died on a dreadful cross because God believes in reconciliation.

God is committed to bringing healing, restoration, yes, “shalom” to every corner of this universe.

I will write a letter to the church in Colossae and I will include these words in the first chapter, “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace (shalom) with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20).

We will send my son back because our God is this committed to reconciliation. We will send him back because sin needs to be dealt with entirely and relationships need to be restored.

I know Philemon myself. It was I who led him to Christ. So he is also my son.

Onesimus, you and your master are brothers. We must pray that his heart can be cleared of anger and bitterness; that he can forgive the injuries you have inflicted on him.

This is no easy thing. We need God’s help to know how to carry this out.

Without any prompting, we all sunk to our knees again. This time we prayed for wisdom, for direction, for tact to do the right thing in the right way. Yes, our brother must go back, but what can we do to smooth the way ahead and encourage reconciliation and forgiveness? This was the content of our earnest prayers. We knew that Onesimus’ future was in the balance, and that Philemon’s wellbeing was also at stake. But more than that, what was about to transpire in Colossae would make a public statement about the transforming power of the Gospel in action. The Gospel must penetrate the very fabric of our lives, our families, and our working environments. This penetration has taken place in young Onesimus, would it do so in the wounded slave owner? This was the content of our prayers.