Monday, 18 August 2014

What Kind of God?

Over the last while we have been looking at the book of Acts in our weekly service at the church. While there is lots of really encouraging stuff to get our teeth into and take on board, there are also some really tricky parts.

Recently we covered Acts 4:32-5:11, which is a tale of two parts and since the second part is often a real no no for some, a God who strikes people, in this case Ananias and Sapphira, down ... no that cannot be the God we know and want to proclaim. surely?

The problem possibly is that we like the idea of a cuddly cute kind of God, who is all about love and goodness and a loving God could not possibly do something as harsh as that. After all who wants a God who disciplines and does hard things to correct his people?

One of my lecturers at bible college used to tell us that when we read scripture we need to ask"what kind of God?" and "so what?" God wants his people to be holy, right with him and as such things which pollute that or could cause his people to have very wrong ideas, need to be stopped short. Ananias and Sapphira thought that they could lie to the church and to God, What kind of God did they see? One that clearly was not all around and all knowing. So what? Well would that be a god worth serving, a god worth trusting? But God did know their innermost thoughts and attitudes, because nothing is hidden from him. As result they are punished - perhaps because the illusion that they had, would have undermined the wonderful generous nature of what was going on in the church at that time.

What kind of God? A God who is awesome, amazing and Holy, God who will not have his people led astray and so brings discipline. The sin being very public, the result being very public. Similarly God had dealt with other public wrong doing for example with David when he used his authority to take someone else's wife, and with Belshazzar when he used God's temple vessels for his own banquet.

So what? Thinking that we can hide things from God means we have a wrong view of who God is and there will be consequences with such an attitude.

As Gods' people we should realise that nothing is hidden, but all can be forgiven if we admit and repent, turn from our wrong doing. What kind of God? A God who loves us enough to correct and discipline us, as any loving parent would do. So what? Often discipline is hard to take, but usually, with hindsight we realise that it was needed and has put us back on the right path. God has what is best for us in mind.