Sometimes I wonder how God came to be represented as a slightly grumpy, dissatisfied old man. It’s a picture of God that many live with, yet we do not find it in the Bible. I believe Satan has been working hard to give humankind a wrong understanding of God and prevent people from having a good relationship with Him.
Let’s try and set the record straight and look at Scripture to see if God is grumpy all the time, or if the truth is He enjoys a good time.
Most people know the story of the Prodigal son. It’s part of a trilogy of stories where someone or something gets lost by the owner and is found again. The stories all end the same way. The owner (or father) rejoices and throws a big party, inviting all the neighbours. Jesus told these stories to help the critical Pharisees understand a bit more what God is really like. Does He sound like a grumpy old man to you?
Jesus also shared how the Kingdom of God is like a king preparing a wedding feast for His son (Matthew 22:1-14). Invitations are being extended far and wide, as what God is looking for is a full complement of guests to celebrate with. I can’t think of any celebration more exuberant than a wedding. And have you ever looked at the faces of the father of the bride and the groom on a wedding day? They are beaming, showing their feelings of joy and pride, and their desire to be more generous than they ever were in their entire life.
More recently I have been really touched by studying the ‘Feasts of the Lord’, which He gave to Israel as statutes to observe. They are rich in depth and full of meaning. But what really touched me is that we have a Lord who loves to bring His people together to celebrate. I have never heard of any God besides ours who regularly calls His people to have joyful celebrations, a God who tells His people to stop all their work and spend time together as families in extended times of celebration.
On the one hand being a Christian is a serious thing. We are called to live soberly in a world which is letting itself go and indulging in every kind of vile sin imaginable. We can have nothing to do with that. But we cannot forget that, on the other hand, our God is a God of real celebration. When we celebrate joyfully together, we express something of the generous heart of God, who simply loves to invite us to His celebration.
Prayer: Father in heaven, though we do not live lives of dissipation, we recognise that You are not a grumpy person and we are sorry if we have seen You as such. Thank You that You truly are a God of joyful celebration. May our lives bring glory to You and represent the kind of God You really are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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