In a previous post I spoke about how God is earnestly waiting and longing to be gracious to us and to show us His kindness. Today I want to elaborate on that a bit, by referring to two more scriptures testifying to this fact. Firstly Jesus used the example of an earthly father’s heart towards his child:
“Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!” Matt 7:9-11
Now if you don’t have children yet, imagine a parent, close friend or beloved pet. If they approach you hungry, will you spitefully give them a stone to chew on? No! Why do we believe that God (Who is the essence of perfect love) would be any different? He wants to bless His children! Another verse:
“He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?” Rom 8:32
There are no exceptions if the word ‘all’ is used. You can’t say: “God will give me all things, except this or that”. All means ALL – no exceptions! We can really and truly expect the best gifts from God!
I want to continue the story about the Door and the Shepherd in this post. We’ve been busy in John 10, and today I want to look at verse 10 specifically.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10
In this verse Jesus clearly sets himself apart from stealing, killing and destroying. This is such an important part of His character that we need to grasp and solidify in our hearts. We must know the heart of God towards His flock. Jesus also refers to Himself as the good shepherd in the next verse (John 10:11). There are a few more verses in the Bible regarding God’s flock and His heart towards them:
“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.” Ps 23:1-2
“I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” Ezekiel 34:14
“And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing, and I will cause the showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing [of good insured by Gods favor].” Ezekiel 34:26
As God’s sheep we can expect life in abundance – so much life that it overflows! We can expect provision, rest and peace in God. We can expect goodness and showers of blessings and favor. I don’t see any reflection of a bad shepherd in the verses above – just amazing kindness and goodness.
I’ve referred to it a few times, but today I want to dedicate an entire post to the goodness of God. Before I came into contact with the true God, I was overshadowed by the perception that He was a very angry God, waiting for any opportunity to chastise me. I had no joy, and I lived under constant condemnation. The moment I came to understand His character and His heart towards mankind, I was set free. There are numerous verses that speak of God’s goodness and character:
“And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [ no, not in any way].” 1 John 1:5
“If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!” Matt 7:11
“He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:7
We are blessed to know and love a good God. He made it so easy to love Him, how can anyone resist?
“But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgement, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.” Jer 9:24
The image of God as an angry judge is incorrect. His heart towards mankind has always been salvation and reconciliation – a plan to bring us back to Him.
“For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3:17
It is not His damnation, but His goodness, that will draw people to Him. The world won’t turn to an angry God, but their hearts will be touched by His love. That is the real moving power of the Gospel – the love God has for us and the salvation He gave to us.
“Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forebearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change you mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? Rom 2:4
In other words – trying to scare non-believers by threatening them with God’s wrath will only do damage. Testifying about God’s goodness and love for the world will lead to salvation.