Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"His Heart, His Hand"

   God's character guides His capacities, or we might also say, His heart governs His hand.

   "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17).

   The Psalmist reveals that our Lord's ways and works flow from His righteousness and holiness.  His being determines His doing.  The Apostle Paul amplifies this truth in the thirteenth chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians:

   "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

   Eloquence, foreknowledge, intelligence, knowledge, faith, power, and even acts of extreme self sacrifice mean nothing if not guided, motivated, and enabled by the character of charitable love.  This is true in us, and were it possible for God to be anything other than who He is, it would be true in Him also.  Thankfully, "God is love," and thus His actions always proceed from the unselfish nature and disposition of His winsome being (I John 4:8).  In God, therefore, character (who He is) precedes and supersedes capacity (what He can do).

   Few truths should more lead us to grateful praise and thanksgiving.  Indeed, if God's primary attributes involved His ability rather than His character, we could never be certain of His motivations, purposes, and actions.  He would rather be like Satan, a being of great power (as given and allowed by God), whose character of self-centeredness results in horrific ways and actions.  This is not the case, of course, and we may rest our hearts in the eternally unchanging reality that God will always be who He is, and thus will always act in the pristine perfection that expresses the glory of His perfect heart and mind.  "I am the Lord.  I change not" (Malachi 3:6).

  As David repeatedly commands in Psalm 107, we "we praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men."  Note the order: first, His goodness, and then, His wonderful works.  The sequence must never be reversed, whether in our understanding or in our communication of the Biblical truth of being, and then doing.  God's heart governs His hand.  His character guides His capacities.  Who He is determines what He does.  Yes, we do well to rejoice in this glory of Divine holiness, and to kneel even in this moment to offer grateful adoration, praise, and thanksgiving for the doings of our Lord that forever originate in His glorious Being.

"And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name?  What shall I say unto them?  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

(Exodus 3:13-14)

Weekly Memory Verse

   The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

(Psalm 24:1)

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