Friday, September 17, 2010

God is in Heaven and He Does What He Pleases

To paraphrase Psalm 115:3, God is in heaven and he does what he pleases. I think many people have a problem with that verse because it makes God seem distant. It gives us a picture of God in which he seems to have no concern for the problems of mankind. But when we consider the context in which it appears, it gives us a better image than that. The psalmist talks about the heathen asking where our God is. They point to the idols they worship and say here is our god, where is yours? To that the psalmist answered that God is in heaven, but he goes a step farther, saying that God does what he pleases. Unlike the idols that these people made with their hands, God does as he pleases. We can take a stick of wood, shape it into an animal, stick it on a shelf and bow to it as a god. If we decide to move to a different house, we can take the god with us and put it on a shelf in a different house. The god has no control over which shelf it sits on, but the living God does as he pleases. Where is the living God? Wherever he wants to be, that’s where!

We often talk about the thing that people make into idols, such as money or television. I suppose that could be right, but I sometimes think we’re stretching it to think that people are actually making these things a god. Unlike the figurine someone might put on a shelf and bow to, money and television serve a different purpose. People want money and television to satisfy their own desires. While they may do many things to obtain money or they may spend far too much time in front of the television rather than worshiping God, they aren’t putting these things above themselves, as they would do with an idol. Instead they hope to use these things to lift themselves up, perhaps to place themselves above God. But God is in heaven and he does whatever he pleases. No man can hope to place himself above God or even reach God’s level.

The thing about God is that unlike a figurine, he has ears that hear and eyes that see. He does what he pleases, but he pleases to spend time with his creation.