Aug. 23, 2009
“Your God will be my God.”
Ruth 1: 16
“What’s Your God Like?”
“ Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the heavens of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”
What is the God I know like?
When others look at my life, what do they think God is like?
“If God loved you as much as you love Him, where would you be?”
“Love is an image of God, and not a lifeless image, but the living essence of the Divine nature which beams full of all goodness.”
One of interesting options provided by the internet is the ability to give and receive “blasts” of information one might never have gotten in times past.
Not long ago, I received just such a piece of communication. It was a survey asking individuals to respond to questions with one word answers only. Here are a few examples of the type of questions and the most frequent answers:
1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. What is your favorite color? Blue
3. Do you miss someone? Yes
But here’s the question which had, as its most frequent answer, something that not only surprised me, but saddened me.
The question was: What do you fear? The most frequent answer: God.
The reason I was so sad to see this answer is that the one person, who has extended the most love to every individual here on this planet, was now, in this survey, being identified as the person people fear the most. Of course, I asked myself, “Why is this so?”
Part of the answer may be found in the insight shared by Lawrence Jacks who correctly points out, “Nobody will know what you (or I) mean by saying that ‘God is love’ unless (we) act it as well.”
Our representation of God’s love is sometimes so far off base, I’m afraid people can only come to the conclusion God is really someone to fear.
This is why the witness of Naomi’s life had such a profound effect on the lives of her family. Love wasn’t something Naomi preached about, instead in the words of Frank A. Clark, Naomi’s love was like “a spring rain.” And Clark further notes that it, “is pretty hard to be in the middle of a (spring rain) without getting some on you.” There was no question in Ruth and Orpah’s mind as to what Naomi’s God was like – especially when compared with the Moabite god Chenosh, who demanded all sorts of vile acts to please him.
In her intercessory prayer to Naomi, Ruth not only informed Naomi she wanted to be part of the Israelite family, included with Naomi’s “folk” and counted among God’s “flock,” she also told Naomi, “Your God is my God, too!” No equivocating. No hesitation. No holding back.
Ruth had seen such a beautiful demonstration in the life of Naomi of what the God of the Universe was like, she wanted this God to be her God.
Over the years, as I have heard people share their opinions about what they think God is like, I’ve come to a very distinct conclusion in my own life and it is this: the view I have of God is one of the key elements is determining the way I not only view myself, but just as critical, my view of God is often the key element in determining how I treat others. If my belief is that God is harsh, arbitrary, demanding, and revengeful – this will more often than not, be the way I end up treating others, as sad as this may be. What’s worse, I have met Christians, who do view God in this way, and because they do, they treat others, whom they don’t like -- in the same manner. And they do it while hoisting a banner that carries the name of God on it. What a misrepresentation of our loving heavenly Father.
The painful consequence is that people who don’t know God, those individuals who have been relegated to living outside the camp, like Rahab, not only get the wrong idea of who God is, but they also decide that if God’s children are so mean and revengeful, why would anyone want to be part of a “flock” or join with “folk” who are so unkind and cruel. Sadly, the only conclusion these “outsiders” can logically come to is that God is someone to fear. And I’ve thought to myself more than once, “Why in the world would a person in their right mind want to spend eternity with someone they are afraid of?”
After ten years in the presence of Naomi, Ruth’s opinion of God was grounded in the reflection of heaven’s love, as shown in the life of her mother-in-law. Ruth’s belief in God was so deep, she could pray only one thing, “May your God be my God, too!”
What an example for you and me. What a witness to the God of heaven and earth Naomi left imprinted upon the heart of Ruth. “Your people are my people. I’m part of the family! And your God, I want Him as my God, too!”
What a wonderful picture Naomi’s life painted of God? When Ruth looked at Naomi, she saw the loving, gracious, kind and forgiving reflection of the God of heaven whom she chose to claim as her own!
“God is a light that is never darkened; an unwearied life that cannot die; a fountain always flowing; a garden of life; a seminary of wisdom; a radical beginning of all goodness.”
“God is, and all is well.”
John Greenleaf Whittier
“I scan You on the figured page
in tales of every distant age
and chant You in a holy song
but yet I hear, I see You wrong
I am so small
You are so all
and I would scent You in a flower
that flares and fails from hour to hour
and count Your liberality
in berries bright upon the tree
but they are small
and You are all
or might I feel You in the sky
Your cloudwind lifts my soul so high
or might I taste You in the spring
new-risen, cleanly caroling
I am so small
You are so all
but narrow is my inward sight
I do not spell Your meanings right
and guttering my outward gaze
I do not steady trace Your ways
my steps are small
to map Your all
then break me wide Your raging word
in flintstruck light from darkness stirred
and break me wide Your dancing love
that soars the hawk, that swoops the dove
I am so small
You are so all in all.”
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at a 30%-50% quantity discount for your Women’s Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please visit:www.direct2church.com or email [email protected].
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.