Does God Take Sides?

Now they are Your servants and Your people whom You have redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.

Nehemiah 1:10

Let me begin with a Bible quiz.

We know that God is Spirit as affirmed in the Gospel of John [4:24] … that is, He does not look like a created human being. He is incorporeal (without body). But there are many scriptural references to body parts in reference to God. 

The quiz question is, “What anatomical body parts are used in reference to God in the Bible?”

  • Hand 
       [Nehemiah 1:10 … redeemed … by Your strong hand] 
       [Exodus 15:6 … Your right hand is majestic in power]

  • Finger 
       [Exodus 31:18 ‘… He gave Moses tablets written by the finger of God’]

  • Arm  
       [Jeremiah 32:2 God brought Israel out of Egypt with an outstretched arm]

  • Back/Face   
       [Exodus 33:23 … then I will take away My hand and you will see My back
        but My face shall not be seen]

  • Nose
       [Exodus 15:10 … at the blast of Your nostrils the sea covered them]

  • Heart 
      [Ezekiel 28:6 … you have made your heart like the heart of God]

  • Ear/Eye
    [Nehemiah 1:6 … let Your ear be attentive to and Your eyes opened to hear
       the prayer of Your servant]

  • Mouth  
     [Matthew 4:4 … but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God]

All of these are called anthropomorphisms, that is, ‘man-forms’, which help us finite human beings comprehend, however little that comprehension may be, the nature/person of God.

Each of the ‘figures’ scripture uses, be it hand, eye, ear etc., connotes some attribute of God the Infinite. 

All of these anthropomorphic ‘images’ speak to a personal relationship between God (that is, His attentiveness) and us human beings who are created in His image – sometimes mercifully, sometimes chastisingly.

Think for a moment of the image, not to mention the feelings, evoked by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam – the Infinite Reaching out to the Finite or perhaps the Finite reaching out to the Infinite or perhaps both.

There is one passage in scripture which stands out in my mind as very encouraging, an image/figure which speaks to a right relationship with God, that is “… to those whose hearts are right with God” .  In this case, the anthropomorphic image is God’s eyes.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

This verse is found deep within the Old Testament, specifically II Chronicles 16:9.

Context: About 500 years before the birth of Christ, a king of Judah, ASA by name, had been very faithful to God for several years but then towards the end of his reign aligned himself with an ungodly king [Syria, no less!] against Israel, his estranged brother … rather than trusting in God.

  • I wonder sometimes, if we align ourselves with anybody and everybody ahead of God. I certainly have and maybe you have as well.
  • But by the grace of God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, He is right there in the midst of our collective stubbornness, our rebellion, our self-sufficiency, our failure … the Constant in the midst of our waffling alliances.

“How?” you might ask.

The eyes of the Lord [our covenant God Jehovah] are always scanning our world 24/7.

“Why?” you might ask.

To show Himself strong, that is, His unsurpassing strength in our times of weakness.

“For whom?” you might ask.  “Anybody? … Everybody?” No … but …

On behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him …

To those who look to the Lord in times of distress rather than on ungodly alliances.

May each of us keep our eyes on our Lord in the midst of the tempest, as Peter the Apostle of old did when stepping out of the boat of his comfort zone … reaching out to take Jesus’ hand, and may we do the same without relying on ungodly substitutes for the REAL DEAL … ”Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Thanks be to God who shows Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him. Yes … God does take sides after all. 

This is one of a developing series of devotions posted by Haliburton United Church. Our thanks to Paul Cornish for this devotion.

The image is adapted from Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.

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