This week we continued to look at the wonder of a God who is complete, needing nothing, yet desires relationship with humans. The God who is love, who is plurality and therefore never alone.
The God of Relationship
1 And Elihu answered and said:
2 “Do you think this to be just?
Do you say, ‘It is my right before God’,
3 that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
4 I will answer you
and your friends with you.
5 Look at the heavens, and see;
and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
6 If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
Or what does he receive from your hand?
8 Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
and your righteousness a son of man.
The last two weeks we have been looking at the subject of humans having a relationship with God – God wanting relationship with us. Today we continue that theme of relationship with God.
Many of the glorious New Testament truths are revealed in the Old Testament, often partial and often using great word images. But not everything in the Old Testament is true.
In the opening reading today, Elihu is the young friend of Job. This book is the story of a man going through trials and he is visited by “Job’s comforters” that are no comfort. Though the others tend to talk rubbish, Elihu is different. His comments are not rebuked by God later in the book and he seems to talk sense. In this section his is talking about the nature of God.
What is Elihu getting at? He is saying that God is above. That God doesn’t need anything from us. Is he correct?
1 God feels – but is complete
From “The Crucified God” by Jurgen Moltmann
What sort of being, then, would be a God who was only ‘almighty’? He would be a being without experience, a being without destiny and a being who is loved by no one. A man who experiences helplessness, a man who suffers because he loves, a man who can die, is therefore a richer being than an omnipotent God who cannot suffer, cannot love and cannot die.
What was Jesus intending to reveal to us about God in the events of Lazarus, his death and raising from the dead?
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus wept. God in Christ felt what it was like to grieve.
And in the crucifixion God in Christ felt what it is to suffer and to die.
But he is still complete and does not need us.
2 God loves – God is love
The Old Testament people seemed to understand that God was loving.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations
1 Kings 8:23
…and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart…
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.
In the New Testament we are taken further and are to understand that God is not merely loving, God is love.
1 John 4:7-8
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:16
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
The great chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13 is in fact a description of the character of God’s love.
3 God grieves over sin – but is complete
Jeremiah he speaks of an iron stylus. And in the New Testament it speaks of grieving the Spirit. How wonderful then that Jeremiah wrote of the new heart and that God would write on this heart!
‘Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool,
inscribed with a flint point,
on the tablets of their hearts
and on the horns of their altars.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
4 God is the relational God. He doesn’t need our friendship but chooses it anyway
See: Trinity – Song and Dance God by Roger Forster, Page 4.
“He is full of personal relationship and has never been alone.”