The Heart of God

Heartless God
May 21, 2017

Sometimes it’s difficult to picture where God is in the midst of world events.  This past week, there was a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in England – 22 people were killed and many more injured.  Thousands of lives were changed forever.  I read of countless murders, beatings and crimes that make no sense.  Someone even pulled the plug at a children’s bounce house, causing 2 children to be hospitalized.  Some kids were crossing train tracks in Fairmount this past week, and one boy lost his life.  It doesn’t all make sense.

We wish God would just stop all of the madness.  Especially when we see the innocent people who are the victims, especially children . . . and when it’s children, that’s what gets our heart pumping . . . and the emotions going.

For the past 4 weeks we’ve been looking at what I am calling distorted views of God.  They are times when we don’t have a proper view of who God is and we incorrectly state something as a fact about God’s nature and character which really isn’t true.  When that happens – we personally struggle with issues in life which at times causes us, even as believers to question our beliefs . . . so we end up believing and not believing all at the same time.

For those who don’t know Jesus, it causes them to move further away from God because their view is already wrong to start with, and when you have a poor foundation, you will struggle to catch up.

So, we’ve looked at
God as a genie
God as a lover of rules
what happens when we’re not feeling God, and
God is heartless, He doesn’t care.

Today, as we finish up this series of messages, I’m going to continue looking at the theme of God being uncaring and heartless and push it a little more.

Because often times, as I started out saying, we don’t understand why bad things are happening in our world.  Sometimes, they are in the name of a god whom others worship, sometimes they are out of anger and hostility, sometimes they seem to be random and make absolutely no sense; others occur because of sinfulness and human error.  We could list a multitude of issues and things which have gone wrong and do a lot of questioning.

So, people ask – – “How can you believe in a God who doesn’t seem to care?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  What did anyone do in Manchester that they deserved to die because of a coward?!”

That’s a great question!  Don’t we all wonder at one time or another . . . why?  Why do these bad things happen to good people?  And on the other hand . . . don’t we sometimes think – – – ‘why are these good things happening to bad people?’

Now, when we ask that question, we NEVER, NEVER, NEVER include ourselves as part of the bad people.  Those are the people who commit murder, steal, and are generally destructive people in our world.  Those are the people we see on the news, the Internet or read about in the newspaper.

But let’s go back to 2 weeks when we looked at the God of rules, wondering if God is a cosmic killjoy.  The rules remind us that we’re sinners in need of grace.  We’ve all committed sins.  None of us are exempt, but only through the power of God’s love and grace are we forgiven of those sins.

The only rules we need to follow are from the 2 great commandments – – – LOVE GOD and LOVE ONE ANOTHER!  If we do that, we’re following all of the commandments, rules, and laws.  We will never be guilty in God’s court when we live our lives this way.

But, we struggle with saying we sin.  We like to list the sins of others before our own.  Look . . . that guy committed murder, I only told a lie.  She committed adultery, I only looked.  He committed a robbery, I just took a pen.  That teen is always disrespectful to her parents, I only do it once in awhile, but I don’t mean it.

Do you see what we do?  We downplay our sinfulness and justify what we do.
So, here’s the question, when the good things happen to us . . . do we really deserve them?

Because, remember, we’re all sinners in need of God’s grace.  That includes every person in this room, every card carrying follower of Jesus, the Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I’m part of that group of sinners.  I’m not proud to be called a sinner.  You might say, ‘but you’re a pastor!’  Yup, I am, but I’m still a person, a man, who commits sin.  I don’t get it right all the time.

So, since we’re not always good and perfect, then why have good things happened to us in our lives?

If anything good’s ever happened to you, sometimes you have to sit back and say, “Well, why did God do something good for me when I’m a sinner?”  Yet, at the same time, you may say, “My life’s not very blessed.”

Now, sometimes we compare ourselves to those around us, and some have more than we do.  They have all kinds of material goods.  They have homes and cars, and vacations and all kinds of really cool gadgets.  You know what I mean?  And you compare your income to theirs, and your belongings to theirs . . . and you get depressed.

You wonder why is God blessing them and not me?  But let me remind you of something . . . during the sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, in Matthew 5:45,

45 God makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  That means lots of people we think don’t deserve to be blessed are going to be blessed.  That’s God!  That’s part of His plan

That’s how God works.  In Isaiah 55, God declares to us ~
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God’s ways are not our ways, His thought are not our thoughts.  Everything He does is bigger and better, even if we don’t understand or even agree with Him and His planning.

You may wonder, if God is doing this, then – – – – “Is God fair?”  I’m going to tell you something which is going to shock you – – – –

NO!  GOD IS NOT FAIR!  I believe in that 100%.  Did my pastor just say that!? Yup!  God is not always fair!  Here are 2 reasons.

The first is really simple and basic . . . in our eyes, in our limited human ability to think, experience, process life and the world around us, God is not fair.  Great things happen to people who are not so good!  People get rewarded for things they didn’t do and we get overlooked.  Ever happen at school or work or on a team you were on.  Someone who didn’t deserve something, got what you believed you deserved.  If we consider God the divine author, then we’re not too happy with God and usually we tell God what we think!

That’s the first and most simple way God is not fair.  Let me give you a second reason – – – – and again, it has to do with our distorted view of God.

God is not always fair.  However, God is always just, but He’s not always fair.  If God was always fair, He would give us what our sins deserve but because He is just, He sent Jesus who became the atoning sacrifice for us.

Listen to these words of Psalm 103 ~

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who revere Him;

12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who revere Him.

14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who revere Him, and His righteousness to children’s children,

18 to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments. – Psalm 103

Folks, this passage brings us home to the heart of God.  Consider again what David wrote in verse 10-12 ~
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him;

12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.

God does not say, ‘oh these people are a bunch of pathetic sinners.  I’m going to destroy them!’  Instead God looks at us with mercy and grace, uses all of His power and builds us up and tells us . . . You’re my kids, I love you, I brought you into the world, and I’m not going to take you out of the world.  I’m not going to repay you for all of the bad things you’ve done.  All those sins, I’m going to put them aside.  In fact, I’m going to look at the entire world, and as big as the world is, that’s how much I’m going to let go and forgive you of your sins.  That’s how much I’m going to remove those sins from you.  Think of traveling around the world, going from east to west.  When does one stop going east and start going west?  It’s impossible to say.  That’s how much God removes our sins from us.
Then consider 2 passages from Isaiah and 2 from Hebrews ~

25 “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. – Isaiah 43:25

22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. – Isaiah 44:22

12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12

17 then God added, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” – Hebrews 10:17

Every so often, you have to thank God that He is not always fair.  He doesn’t give us what our sins deserve.

Whenever you’re tempted to look at whatever it is, the crazy stuff in the world or the personal situation that feels unjust, when you call out to God – – – “why would you allow this?”

Here’s something that I challenge you to do.  Don’t just think about it from your perspective, but think about it from your Heavenly Father’s perspective, a father who loves you, who has a purpose in your pain, and is with you when you’re hurting.

Have you ever had to hold your child down when they were hurt.  They fell and they were bruised.  Maybe they needed stitches or they needed their wounds cleaned and putting that green soap on when I was a kid added to the pain.  Or do you remember putting bactine on the wound.  Sometimes you had to hold your child down.  They’re screaming bloody murder and you’re holding back the tears, because this is killing you too.  Everyone is hurting, but you hold them down because you want their wounds cleaned and to heal.  There’s no way you’re going to leave them.  It doesn’t seem to make sense to the child.

And . . . when they hurt . . . you hurt.

In the same way . . . when you hurt, God hurts with you.  There are times when He wants to tell you but you can not quite understand God telling you, “I’m going to do something through this.  There’s a reason.  I’m working and I’m still here.”

And understand, He knows what it’s like more than anybody else to hurt because He loved you so much  – – – – that He did something that wasn’t fair.  It wasn’t fair to Him.  Maybe it wasn’t fair to His Son, to send Him into this world for a bunch of sinners like us.  Yet, that’s God’s heart!

He sent His Son to die and when Jesus became sin, Jesus looked up at the Father and said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Dad, Abba, father, why did you turn away?”

The Father could not look upon sin.  But because the Father loves you, He sent His Son, Jesus, to take your place on the cross, to die in your place.

That is a love beyond anything we can ever imagine.  Our God is not a heartless God.  Our God doesn’t even just love you.  He is love.  It’s not what He does, it’s who He is.

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