God is love – God loves and God loves you. If this is not true then we are without hope and meaning. However, as any parent knows, love does not always mean approval – love does not always mean agreement, and sometimes love is tough – indeed sometimes love does not seem like love.
The life of Jesus teaches us that the heart of the Father is towards the failure, the outcast, the rebel, the stranger and the socially unacceptable – but yet there was a group Jesus opposed – and in his opposition he was once again reflecting the heart of God.
So blinded have some of us become to this truth that we openly support those God opposes. I fear that this is a very dangerous place to live.
The scriptures of both the Old and and New Testament have much to say about this group of people. Not only, it seems, is God opposed to them – but they are in constant danger of sudden destruction.
Both James the brother of Jesus and Peter his trusted disciple, in their writing, single out this group of people as living in a very precarious and dangerous place. Echoing Ps 138:6 and other OT scriptures they write –
But He [The Holy Spirit] gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5
To see pride, in all its ugliness, in our world is terrible in itself and as we know it leads to all kinds of prevision, abuse, war and genocide. But, to see it in the Church is even more alarming – and to see church leaders supporting the arrogant and proud outside the church is almost beyond comprehension – yet we live in a day where this is being done openly and without any hint of shame.
And yet – as we well know all of us are vulnerable! One of the most highly regarded worship leaders who ever lived slipped in this very place. He wrote –
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
Psalm 73 2&3
And is was not until he came in to the place of God’s presence and began to see things afresh, from the perspective of heaven, that he found his footing again. And we all need to live in that place – every day! May we then with Asaph, stop looking to the proud for inspiration and answers to the problems that plague our world and be able to say –
But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
Psalm 73: 28