Tuesday, October 25

What is God like?

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary: Not good.
Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.
Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*
This quote is a favorite of mine. I often find myself silently thinking that last line, wanting to quote it to people but unsure if they'd recognize where it's from or judge me for knowing where the quote is from (Dumb and Dumber, in case you didn't know. Yes, I like stupid humor...moving on.)
There's a saying that if something is repeated, it is probably worth hearing! And perhaps the more something is repeated, the more important it becomes.

The last two years, while teaching the Old Testament books (Genesis-Malachi) to the middle school students, at church, I found myself coming across the same statement, repeated over and over, albeit slightly different wordings. A beautiful statement that tells us about God's character.

"You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity"
**taken from Jonah 4:2

Gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding (love this word) in love, the God who relents...all words that speak of His incredible love and mercy.

So what does Dumb and Dumber have to do with God? What thin connection am I going to create here?

The thing that became apparent over the last two years of teaching the Old Testament is the depravity of the people. Incredible amounts of wickedness, idolatry, and unbelief. No more than the depravity of our own times...I think that we just try to pretty it up. Time and time again, God sent his servants to speak truth to the people, including both the Israelites and the neighboring countries. And repeatedly His judgment was poured out against the sins of those people. And yet! There is this thread of hope...this thread of goodness and redemption that is intertwined throughout the Old Testament.

It struck me that no matter how bad the people were...no matter how dark their hearts or sin-filled their deeds were, there was still a chance for forgiveness and salvation. Even in Jonah, the Assyrians (Ninevah was the capitol) had a horrific reputation...ruthless, bloodthirsty, powerful and fearless. Jonah may have feared for his life by walking into Ninevah but we learn in Chapter 4, that his greatest concern was that they would seek God and he knew what would happen if they did...God would extend forgiveness. The promised destruction and judgment would be cancelled out by God's love. The chance for salvation was always there, always available. Mercy would prevail over justice, if mercy was sought.

Such good news for them. Such good news for us.


T.C. said...

Nothing wrong with a bit of 'Dumb & Dumber'!

I've been following a puzzling questions course & "what is God like?" is one of them. Been blogging my thoughts about it http://talkingchristian.blogspot.com/2011/10/puzzling-questions-what-is-god-like.html

Moe said...

Dumb and dumber reference: +10 pts. Love it!

Oh, and what a fantastic illustration. Grace can go above and beyond our evilness and sin. Heck, He died just for those sins.

Mindy said...

TC, a puzzling question course? Is this through your church? Sounds interesting...I'll check your blog right after this.

Moe, the extent of our God's grace is truly amazing.

And hooray for people who appreciated D&D. :)