Cheerleading is now just ‘Cheer!’ What once existed to engage crowds at sporting events has now become a sport in its own right. It has its own venues and events. A cross between gymnastics and dance, it exists for itself, independent of crowds or sporting events. Any actual cheerleading is an incidental by-product. What had been essentially concerned for others, is now merely coexistent.
Unfortunately, many people view God’s work of redemption the same way. As though God acts in the lives of his creatures with cold detachment. He rights the wrongs, redeems some, judges others, but is not personally invested. Of course, Christian doctrine declares the impassibility and immutability of God. He never suffers nor changes. He is not contingent on anything in creation. He does not need anything he has made. He is self-existent, eternal, and utterly other-than all his creatures. The Bible declares all these things to be true.
Yet, like many apparent conundrums in Scripture where two seemingly contradictory ideas are presented side by side as true. The impassibility of God is declared side by side with expression after expression of God’s love, hate, grief, and delight. In our emotional lives these experiences imply vulnerability, growth, change. How can this be true of God? But just as God ordains all things that come to pass, yet He gives men and angels real, true free moral will, the same God who never suffers or changes is described in the language of intense emotion. He is never cold, detached, or sociopathic. And, if fact, emotion animates his redemptive work. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.”
Does God care about you? Is he really concerned with whether you live or die? Does it matter to him whether you are saved or damned? Or are regeneration and faith just an incidental by-product of his purpose to reveal his glory? The glorious truth is that God does care about you. He is concerned with whether you live or die. It does matter to Him whether you are saved or damned. Grace, security, and assurance depend upon God’s unchangeableness, but they are all fueled by attributes we express in emotional terms. Like many things in scripture these are truths to be believed, not discovered. While hard to understand, there is no conflict.
As the plagues unfold, the first three emphasized God judgement against Pharaoh, his people, and his gods. But with the fourth plague something remarkable is noted. As God threatens a horrible plague of flies, he promises something new.
“But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.EXODUS 8:22
Not only does God distinguish those he has appointed for deliverance, but he does so to reveal that He is present with them, to fight against their enemies and to combat their own sin and unbelief. We consider many times that in Christ, God is with us. But in the fourth plague, we see that God is for us. His care, his deliverance, his mercy, his sovereign providence is not dispassionate, not incidental, no mere by-product of his glory. He cares for you. The scripture tells us.
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? — Ezekiel 33:11
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
… [cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. — 1 Peter 5:7
God has concern for the life of his creatures. He is no mere clinical observer of cosmic rats in a cosmic maze. He loves you more than you can imagine. His is not indifferent to you or your condition. He sees, hears and knows. And he desires you to turn to Him to find life. Reconciling the free offer of the gospel with the doctrines of election and predestination is one of the secret things. But what is revealed is that God truly loves us.
Have you learned this? Do you know God cares about you? That he is concerned whether you live or die? And whether you are saved or perish? Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Exodus 8:20-32 and consider that not only is God with us, but that God is for us.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.