Daily Readings – Leviticus 21-22, Psalm 36, Romans 10
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
These brief verses beautifully summarize the many dimensions of our amazing God.
It is easy from time to time to fall into a very narrow view of God. I catch myself frequently thinking about God primarily through the lens of his love and faithfulness. I have seen repeatedly through my life the truth in what David writes; God’s love truly does reach to the heavens and his faithfulness to the skies. And yet I don’t spend as much time contemplating God’s righteousness and justice.
There are many other Christians that have a tendency to do the opposite. They obsess over God’s righteousness and his justice but forget that they also serve a loving and faithful God!
The truth is, conveniently forgetting either of these fundamental truths about God paints a very one-dimensional picture. We serve a God who is endlessly loving and abundant in his faithfulness, but also, whose righteousness is like the highest mountains and whose justice is like the great deep!
For me personally, I love to meditate upon God’s endless love and faithfulness. I try to walk through life with that as my focus. I think this is how God would want it. I believe he would want us to constantly remember his amazing love.
However, at times it is extremely healthy to recognize that God is just and any ramifications we face for choices we make in our lives are fully deserved. If God chooses to give me a free pass from time to time and I escape any serious repercussions for decisions I make that are out of line with his will in my life, I should be extremely thankful. The problem comes when we come to expect that things will always work out fine when we make repeated bad decisions.
I know that I have fallen into that trap previously in my life where I ask God, “Why would you allow this stress, pain, frustration in my life to happen?”
…conveniently forgetting individual decisions, series of decisions, or lifelong habits, that directly lead to these negative outcomes.
Remembering that God is our perfect heavenly Father always helps me to wrap my mind around the two sides of God. As a Father myself I love my kids like crazy. If I thought they would learn lessons without me having to dole out negative consequences, I would lean towards barely ever punishing anything. (Just ask my wife!) Infinite love and grace is more fun!
Being an amazing parent takes a huge amount of love, but also requires a fair amount of discipline. This can be so challenging! None of us here on earth are perfect parents. God is. He is our perfect heavenly Father that knows exactly what we need.
It can be maddening when my kids are in the middle of doing the exact same wrong thing that we have talked about over and over again. Why don’t they just listen?! Then I think about my own life…I can only imagine God’s reaction in Heaven!
I can’t imagine how mad I would be at my kids all day long if I knew every single thought and saw every single action! I am not sure I would be able to muster “love that reaches to the heavens”!
The truth is that we deserve far more justice and far less love, and yet God does the opposite. He loves us so much that he took on human form and sacrificed himself on our behalf. He forgives us and wants us to simply turn back to him. Sometimes that requires consequences in my life that I might not understand or appreciate in the moment.
There is so much beauty in God’s justice and righteousness, as well as his love and faithfulness.
I know that I personally need him for both!
Thought to ponder
Which side of God do I have a tendency to disregard? How can I get to know and appreciate that aspect of God more fully?