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11/04/2005

WHY

The following is an article (slightly amended here) I originally wrote for CHRISTIAN MUSIC PLANET a few years ago but I thought it might be timely to bring it back out now. I'd say all this differently today but the essence of the essay still holds true for me. I still believe this is the answer we're all looking for.

----------------------------

Five thousand men and their families fed. Lazarus called out of his tomb. A sea of lepers touched and made whole. Deaf hear. Blind see. Lame leap. Why?

Five thousand stomachs empty again in a matter of hours. An old man rescued from his grave only to return in a few years. The sick are healed until infection invades another day. Ears and eyes are opened until closed again by age or infirmity. Why? I have to wonder why when the miraculous seems ultimately meaningless.

The bodies of Pharaoh’s great army washed up on the shore of the Red Sea. Sodom and Gomorrah reduced to ashes. Paul shipwrecked, infected and martyred. God’s Son betrayed, belittled and butchered. Why?

Why did soldiers leave their families to fight and never come home when it was their leader and not them who defied God? Why did the innocent die alongside the guilty when entire towns were decimated by the wrath of God? Why would a man give up a life of power and prestige for a destiny of disease and destruction? Why did Jesus obey His Father only to be repaid with crucifixion? Why? I have to wonder why when the penalty and pain seem senseless.

And after wrestling with questions like these for years, I believe I’ve stumbled onto the answer – and it happens to be the answer to everything, the whys of every life.

God’s glory. Glory means the full weight of who God is. It is the complete picture of God: His love, mercy, grace, AND His wrath, judgment and jealousy. It is everything He is, and it is the answer. How so? God is self-centered. God is consumed with His own glory and with making His glory known to us. He wants every creature great and small to recognize all that He is and center themselves around all that He is, to adopt His character as their own. To see the fullness of God – His glory - and become glorious. That's what God is after. That's why.

John 6:14 The crowd not only had their bellies filled by the miracle of Jesus, but also realized He was the “Prophet who is to come into the world.”

John 11:45 Lazarus came to life and “many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.”

John 4:48 Crippled, lame, leprous and blind were healed because Jesus knew the spectators needed to “see miraculous signs and wonders” or they would never “believe” – never know He was God.

The miracles of Jesus were not permanent solutions to temporal problems. They were billboards for God’s glory – evidence of God and glimpses of His character. They were invitations to believe in and worship the God of compassion and wonder. They spread His fame from village to village and heart to heart.

Exodus 14:31 Pharaoh’s army was swallowed by the sea and the Jewish nation “feared the Lord and put their trust in Him.”

Psalm 40 Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed; Paul was persecuted; Christ was crucified – so that many would “see and fear” God. So that many would see His power to sustain and strengthen. And so that His name would be “the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the GLORY of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

What God wants more than my happiness, more than my understanding, more than my way is for me to acknowledge Him – to notice Him – when the blessings AND the tears flow. And to partner with Him, to become a tool, for the purpose of making Him famous.

We were made to know God and continually make Him known. And God is busy dousing us in extravagant kindness and devastating despair, all to broadcast Himself to us and through us. This is the answer that brings meaning and purpose to the blessings and pains of every life. This is God's plan, His reason. This is the great why we're looking for. But it only satisfies the questioner who can honestly say along with Isaiah, "Your name and renown are the desire of my soul." (Isaiah 26:8)

26 Comments:

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

You wouldn't believe it but I've read this before yeah Sept Oct 2003 edition. I think I didn't finish it the first time because I got down to about paragraph 4 and was like this is too depressing. That and I wasn't much of a fan back then. But going back & getting to re-read it...WOW! It's always amazed me to be at church and hear someone say (as more of a statement than a question) "Isn't God good!" And for someone who is really hurting at that time if they heard that more than likely they'd have to say "Are you freakin kidding me?!! GOD good?!! You wanna try and tell me that God is good when my life is falling apart all around me?!"
I've also always wondered if being angry at God is okay. Like I've always been told that most of the time the only reason you're mad at God is when you don't get your way (and isn't that true most of the time?) And another question would you classify God as being selfish?

11/04/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Yes. I'd say God is selfish. How's that sit with you? Honestly.

11/04/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

WOW!! You go Shaun! I agree. (OK, pick yourself up off the floor, yes, I agreed with you on something). I too say God is selfish if you mean that everything is for His glory and pleasure. However, the sacrifices and trouble He goes to in order to bring that about is unfathomable to me and impossible for me to understand in my human state. I'll "get it" one day though and for now, my faith is enough to know it's true, and truly awesome!

Beth

11/04/2005  
Blogger Drew said...

Yes, God is selfish. It's all about Him. Everything in life, even our own personal redemption stories are all ultimately about Him, and not about us.

Shaun, thanks for writing this. I think this is an important message that many have preached, but it often goes unheard. The more it is reiterated, the more people will hear and hopefully start to live their lives in light of the fact that it's not about them. I know that I could use that reminder every hour of everyday. I need someone to remind me that it's not about me, it's all about Him and His glory.

11/04/2005  
Blogger Mary said...

Selfish? Nah...didn't He give His own Son for us? Doesn't He weep at our sorrows? I'll agree that God wants to be worshiped and glorified, but not because He is selfish or an ego-maniac or control-freak, but because He knows it is in our best interest. Didn't He give us free will out of His love for us? That doesn't fit with selfishness to me. And, neither does this: 1John "God is love in Him there is no darkness at all"

11/04/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Mary, John 3:16 affirms God's love for all mankind. But does it really say He gave His son FOR ONLY us as you suggested? God demonstrated His love for us by dying for us. Agreed. But the greater love behind all He does is love for Himself. His love for Himself does not negate His love for us. It's not either or. It's not either God loves me or God loves Himself. The best way I know to explain this is: God loves you but He doesn't love you most. Point of Grace was wrong when they sang "God loves people more than anything." Michael W. Smith was wrong when he sang that God "thought of me above all." I've never been first. I've never been MOST loved.

John 3:21 brings this perspective to John 3:16. What is the result, the motivation, behind God's love for man, His death on the cross in my place? That we would be changed and people would see Him because of it.

My worth then doesn't come from God loving me most but from God, who loves himself and His reputation most, allowing me, choosing me, to partner in the preservation and proliferation of his reputation on earth. He's trusting me to represent Him here. He's trusting me with the thing He loves most: His name, His image. That's where our value comes from.

Does that make more sense, Mary?

Ezekiel 36 was a pivotal chapter in my understanding this motivation of God's. In Ezekiel 36 God is speaking (through the prophet Ezekiel) to the Jews, God's special chosen people. They had shed blood and worshiped idols so God accused them of profaning His name. (make Him smaller than He is, literally means "to cripple") God's ticked. He tells the Jews that He's moving to another plan of salvation. He's going to have to change their hearts and not just give them rules (the law). He tells them He's sending Jesus and opening salvation up to all people, not just Jews. He promises to turn human hearts from stone to flesh. He promises to bless the Jews in numerous ways but also to curse them. He threatens their crops, their nation, their lives. And promises that one day he'll preserve their lives, their crops and their nation. Good and bad from God. Blessing and curse. And why? No mention of love for man. Over and over again He says "this is not for your sake" but it's "for the sake of my name". And this is true of everything God does. I could write a book, and I might some day, about how scripture tells us explicitly that God is concerned most with His name, reputation, character being represented accurately on earth. This is God's chief motivation. The bible is littered with the stories of a self-promoting God giving mankind value and purpose by allowing us to participate in knowing and making Him known.

Hope that helps you understand where I'm coming from. Do you agree or disagree? With what parts? This is worth spending some time explaining. It's key to having hope in the darkest situations and having humility in the best.

SG

11/04/2005  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Shaun,

I agree. There really isn't any way to explain a lot of the O.T. stories or what happens in our lives today other than to realize that everything is for God's Glory. We may be expended in the process. We are not the most important part of the universe.

Do you think John Piper's statement "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." also points to this fact?

11/04/2005  
Anonymous Jonesey said...

Shaun,
Glad you mentioned the MWS lyric that says"and thought of me above all". As a songwriter maybe you might see a different spin on the song "above all" as a whole. But I not sure what Christ did can be compared to "Like a rose trampled on the ground, You took the fall, and thought of me above all." Could there be some symbalizism(sp) behind it?
Thanks shaun for your thought, Kind of funny that as I read this blog that I glanced and read the Family Christian Store flyer this month and it says " Its all about Him"

11/04/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

The references that I found in the Bible all warn people against being selfish:

Proverbs 23:6
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,Or desire his delicacies;

Romans 2:8
but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Philippians 1:17
the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

James 3:14
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.

James 3:16
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

~If He is selfish, would this then be a case of God telling us to 'do as I say and not as I do?'


n

11/04/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Excellent point, Nancy. I was asked that the first time I ever taught this. A sixteen year oldish guy came up afterwards and said, "So I can be selfish then right? Because God is. And I'm supposed to be like Christ." Good point then and now. I can tell you what I told him, I think it's a pretty decent answer, but I'd rather let everyone else have a turn for a while. Anyone have an answer of their own for Nancy?

SG

11/04/2005  
Anonymous Sonflower said...

Actually it's because God is the "I am". I don't think it's God is selfish actually I think God is selfless. After all Jesus was God in the form of man. He gave all and then offers us everything as an heir.

I believe the reason to worship and glorify God is simply because he is the only one worthy; Lucifer actually was selfish and it was the root of his fall because he was not.

11/04/2005  
Blogger Mary said...

Yes, Nancy, I can help you with that. God isn't selfish! LOL

You guys say "It's all about God" I agree. But, does that mean He is selfish? I looked it up in the dictionary and it says: concerned with your own interests, needs, and wishes while ignoring those of others. Yes, God is concerned with His own interest, and rightly so, but can you say He ignored our needs?

Here's how I see it: God will do anything to protect His own character. He will also do anything to bring redemption to humanity. It isn't that He does one or the other, He does both. So, yes, God wants to be glorified, but on the other hand, if He was selfish, would He deserve it? No, He deserves glory because He has accomplished all of this through love, by putting Himself on the cross instead of us. In turn, we understand what true love is. That is what brings Him glory.

Want a verse to back this up. They will call Him Emanual - God with us. When we look at Christ we see God, right? When we look at Him do we see selfishness or personal ambition? No, we see sacrifice. On the cross we see God hold His holiness and mercy in perfect balance. Yes, He is doing it for His sake, but not at our expense.

11/04/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Great points Nancy. I have to agree with Mary on this one. I think I see what Shaun is trying to say when he uses the term "selfish," but as the dictionary defines it, it is definitely not a characteristic of God.

Beth

11/04/2005  
Anonymous B said...

Isn't this the same principle of Louie Giglio's book, "I am not, but I know I AM?"

11/04/2005  
Blogger Fruitcake said...

Can I quote you on this, Shaun?

11/04/2005  
Blogger Lane said...

The difference when we talk about God being selfish and us being selfish, is that we are not perfect. We speak of selfishness in terms of us. When we focus on ourselves, being depraved individuals, we suffer the effects of sin. But God, being perfect, focuses on himself and it is the most loving thing in the world!

God loves Jesus. Jesus is God. You might say, God loves himself through Jesus. God lets Jesus suffer death. Jesus defeats sin because God's love is so perfect. Perfect love wins. If God was not selfish, his love could not be perfect, and we would not have been forgiven. Therefore, God's selfishness is also complete love for the world.

All this to say our earthly definitions are inadequate when trying to explain God.

11/04/2005  
Blogger Drew said...

Look at it this way... Selfishness is ultimately about putting your needs/desires/plans (you fill in the bland) of the self before that of any other. This is bad in human terms, because we are all depraved. However, when we consider God's perfect holy nature and character, it becomes aparent that God's plans/purposes/desires must come first. Always. His are the only that are worthy, because He is perfect, His plans are perfect. It doesn't mean that the wellfare of others is neglected, but that God's "wellfare" (not really an appropriate word, but using it for the sake of comparison) always comes first. That is selfish. But the cool thing is this... because God's character is perfect, in the act of promoting His own Name, His glory, His fame, He provided redemption to man. He was able to meet the needs of man AND promote His fame and glory at the same time. Is redemption provided because God loves us? yes. But why does God love us? Because it's his character to love perfectly. In demonstrating His love through the story of redemption, He was proclaiming His character, who He is, to the whole world. God is ultimately concerned with His renown. As John Piper puts it: "God is radically God-centered... the most God-centered person in the universe is God. He loves his glory even more than He loves us." "If we are God-centered because He is man-centered, then we are man-centered"
We are told in Romans 3:25, speaking of Jesus and His work on the cross "whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness" Even Christ's atoning sacrifice was about making God's character known.

11/05/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Words are wiggly things, meaning different things to different times, places and people. SElfish is not a bible word - true. And selfish surely can insinuate not caring at all for or neglecting others. ANd if that's your definition then no, God is not selfish.

BUt here's dictionary.com's definition. THis is what I mean when I use the word to describe God: "Concerned chiefly or only with oneself" I stand by selfish. God is concerned CHIEFLY with Himself. But certainly not ONLY.

ALright, I have to answer Nancy's excellent question now. I'm about to head out of town for the weekend and I can't wait that long - I love the answer too much. We're supposed to love what God loves and hate what God hates. This is the way in which we're supposed to be like God. The OBJECT of our affection and hatred is to be the same. So God is selfish, meaning He loves Himself MOST. The primary object of His affection is Himself, His name, His reputation. We are to be like God by making Him the primary object of our affections, loving Him MOST. We're told then not to be selfish, even though God is selfish, because being selfish keeps us from loving most what God loves most: Himself.

But we're also told to love people, many many times, and very well and much. GOD LOVES PEOPLE! And we're supposed to love what God loves - in the amounts too. So we're told to hate our mother's and fathers, leave our mothers and fathers for the sake of the Good News: We are to love the people we love most less than we love God. Love God most! And we're told to deny ourselves, which at the very least means we love God MORE than ourselves. Love God most!

Love people because God loves people. But love God MORE and MOST because that's how He loves.

SG

11/05/2005  
Anonymous b said...

"God is God, and He knows who He is. God must perpetually exalt Himself in all things. For if God failed to exalt Himself in ever possible way, He would exalt someone else as central, someone or something that was not central at all. That would make God both unwise and unloving-unwise, because it would demostrate that He didn't know what was best; unloving because He would be allowing our attention and affection to be aimed toward something that was less than the very best. But since God encompasses all wisdom and is the source of pure love, He has no choice but to exalt Himself above all things. If that approach sounds a little arrogant or egocentric, we have to remember who we're talking about. We're not talking about little finite creatures like you or me, but abou the God of gods who is before all things . . . when God orchestrates life in such a way as to spotlight His fame, He is being anything but arrogant. He is doing the most loving thing He can do. He is not being egotistical at all, rather He is simply being God."

from "i am not but i know I AM"

11/06/2005  
Blogger Mary said...

Yeah, but how does He exault Himself? I think that is maybe where I have some different thoughts. It seems to me that He exaults Himself through love, humble, sacrificial love. So, in that sense, He does think of us "above all".
That doesn't mean we are better or worthy of His thoughts, but that He is the essence of love. Jesus told us that there is no greater love than to lay down our lives. Hasn't God done the same? Are you thinking that if He loved us as much as Himself that it would somehow make Him less dedicated to His purpose of drawing all things to Him? I think that is the way He does it, and it doesn't put a single thing about Him in jeapordy. In fact, to me, it gives me a clearer image of who He is. And, from His point of view, I always like to think that He has laid everything on the line, even His reputation, knowing full well, that end the end, the whole universe will, like Peter, have no where else to go. He trusts love that much.

Jesus said "when you see Me, you see the Father" And, what do we see in Jesus - a servant; a servant to us. Yes, God wants us always put God first, and when we put others first, we are putting Him first, too. He showed us how. How else could we know what love is, if He was not that way Himself? Love one another, as I have loved you.

When He was praying, Jesus said, "that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:23 I see what you mean when you say that God is being "simply God" but the beauty is that God, in spite of all of His glory, really did put us first. That, to me, is part of what makes Him so glorious.

11/06/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

It's just semantics at this point isn't it? The point is that the overarching plan of God for history, for mankind and all of creation, is one centered around the recognition of Himself as supreme God and the resulting tribute to Him. If you want to word it that God put you first simply because He met your deepest needs I think that's alright if you understand the reason behind that as being God's pursuit of His own tribute. I see God's cheif desire and motivation as bringing attention and adoration to Himself and in the process using love and wrath and tragedy and blessing etc to get the job done - and I see that as God loving us but loving Himself most. It's not important to me whether we agree on the word "most" or the words "self-centered" or "selfish". What's important is not the language we assign to this idea. What seems import, to me anyway, is that we realize what motivates God, what the essence of His will and plan for everything is, the chief end of man: worship of God. When we understand that everything about our faith and life changes doesn't it? How is a life lived with this understand that God's renown is of paramount importance to God different from a live lived thinking we're most important to God? How might those two lives look different?

SG

11/07/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Ran across this verse this morning while studying for IKON this week. I see this stuff every day, in every nook and cranny of scripture: evidence that everything God does is ultimately for His name, reputation, revelation of Himself to us and through us. This passage is about God's blessing of Israel. I've capitalized the motivation for this blessing:

Ezekiel 36:9-11 (GOD is speaking)"I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, 10 and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. THEN YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD"

This next part is from the same chapter. It sheds light on God's definition of sin and why it upsets Him:

Ezekiel 36: 17-21(Again, God is speaking) "...when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman's monthly uncleanness in my sight. 18 So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. 20 And wherever they went among the nations they PROFANED MY HOLY NAME (profane literally means to cripple or make small), for it was said of them, 'These are the LORD's people, and yet they had to leave his land.' 21 I had CONCERN FOR MY HOLY NAME, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone."

And there's more. Then we learn why God punishes and allows bad things to happen to His people:

Ezekiel 36:22-23 (God talking again) "Therefore [Ezekiel] say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is NOT FOR YOUR SAKE, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things,BUT FOR THE SAKE OF MY HOLY NAME, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I WILL SHOW THE HOLINESS OF MY GREAT NAME, which has been profaned among the nations, the NAME you have profaned among them. Then the nations WILL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, WHEN I SHOW MYSELF HOLY through you before their eyes."

But there's even more (I swear you can do this with every book of the bible - it never ceases to amaze me - how did I not see this sooner in life??). Next God promises a new salvation, not dependent upon Jewish ritual and priests but a salvation that actually changes the heart of man, replaces his old heart with a new one. And look at why He does this? Is He thinking about us above all?

Ezekiel 36:26-32 (God still speaking) "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I AM NOT DOING THIS FOR YOUR SAKE, declares the Sovereign LORD."

So the whole point of our salvation, our new heart, the coming of a Messiah etc is NOT FOR OUR SAKE, but for the protection and announcement of God's name and character to all people.

Just one example of this belief that God's "glory" is behind all that God does. It's everywhere.

11/07/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

why does God need to protect His name in the earth? He is fully satisfied in relationship within the Trinity, and all the heavens glorify Him. why did He create us when He knew we would fall and tarnish His name and reputation? why is God concerned for His name and reputation in a place where He can command it if He so chooses?

11/07/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

GREAT questions, Amy. So great that any answers I tried to give would be more guessing than knowing. God has spoken to us through nature, His Son, the authors of the bible. God has spoken and the rest is only commentary on that revelation, on those words and Word made flesh. Most of the time my commentary, my answers have some scholarship behind them, and when they don't, when they're mostly gut instinct or feeling or suspicion I'll confess that when the answer is given. That's what I'm doing here. No doubt some great theologian somewhere has written a treatise answering these great riddles but I'm not him. This is where my knowledge ends, a sudden drop off I admit.

Your first question about why God needs to protect His name isn't so hard to answer: He wants us to know Him as He really is so He protects Himself from misrepresentation. Part of this protection is constant announcement of His true identity and values - like the seraphs in Isaiah 6 shouting about the holiness of God - and part of this protection is the establishment of the Church to live out who He is as Christ did, and part of this protection is wrath and revelation - miracles, acts of kindness and mercy and peace making by His people and Himself or the deaths of Ananias and Saphira (I reference them because they're new testament examples of God's wrath). God wants to be heard and heard clearly. He protects His reputation from distortions of all kinds.

Your other questions are impossible for me to answer. I know some trite short answers I've been taught along the way but I'd rather not insult you with answers that don't fully satisfy me and probably wouldn't satisfy you either. The truth is I just don't know.

How important are these questions? Do they affect whether or not you believe in this faith of ours? Are they deal breakers? Honestly. On some days even?

11/07/2005  
Blogger Mary said...

Ah ha! I think I figured out why this conversation is bugging me so much. I went to a grade school where we learned all of the answers to catechism questions, but learned nothing about Christ's love. What is the chief purpose of man? - to worship God. Ok, that is all well and good, but can you really worship someone you don't know? The thing is, the nuns I had (not a general statement about nuns or catholicism) talked about worship and then went into the class room and did things like hit my friend Dianne with a yardstick while she stood at the chalkboard trying to do a math problem she didn't understand. When they said we were supposed to worship God, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. (Just a personal note as to why I am having such an emotional reaction to this conversation. Thankfully, I did come to know God’s love, and you’re right, I was deeply touched by it. But, hey, that’s another story.)

I promise you that I am assuming that you don't leave God's love out of your life like that. But at the same time, I think when you use words like "selfish" (even the watered down meaning), loves Himself most, etc., that you are applying characteristics to Him that do not fit His character. You call it semantics, but I say it is a distortion.

Would you agree that having some idea of God's character is essential to being able to worship Him? The Bible not only tells us that God is love, but it also goes a long way to explain what love is. Wasn’t Christ the humble servant while here with us? If God wants us to serve others, and even humbled Himself to serve us, then is it really appropriate to say that He "loves" Himself more? What does that mean? I know He's God and all, but is love something different in His hands? If love is “laying down your life” could He have really done that without putting us first?

You said earlier “If you want to word it that God put you first simply because He met your deepest needs I think that's alright if you understand the reason behind that as being God's pursuit of His own tribute. “ To me it isn’t just alright to say this, but it is essential to knowing Him. Maybe we don’t have to pit these two concepts against each other. Can’t God think of us first, and by doing so, be doing it for the sake of His own name, which is love and holiness. Do you see what I mean? Maybe this is just the best example of “the last shall be first”?

What do you think? Am I being picky? Does this enhance our view of God or distort it? Thanks for the discussion. - - Mary

11/09/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Mary,

You have said exactly what I couldn't seem to put into words! I feel exactly the same way. It's more a circle to me than a line if that makes any sense. God puts us first because it's only then that we can glorify His name as we should (not that we're ever fully capable of doing it). What an awesome God!

Beth

11/09/2005  

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