Conservative vs Liberal, tradition vs new ideas, free will vs sovereignty, OT vs NT, worship band vs hymns, and the list can go on and on and on with the trivial arguments and proposals for what we hold most valuable to express faith. I propose that God doesn’t care.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament God makes one thing that He cares about very clear and He cares about it far more than the details of religious practice or political thought.
You and I.
Although there are many passages we could examine from the OT that exemplify this one heart desire above ordinations and practices we are going to look at one, Isaiah chapter 58. The people of Israel were caught up in doing the religious order or duties of how to fast and “get” Gods attention to respond to their plight. God comes through with His heart cry for them to examine what He cares about most for their lives when He responded to them with this.
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Quite sobering sin’t it?
And from the NT Gospels we have Jesus teaching about how God will view two types of people, sheep and goats. From Matt 25.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Again this can be utterly sobering to us.
But I want us to not focus on the implications of salvation and judgement and get us to focus on one amazing truth that gives us hope.
These passages echo the heart of a God who cares about people!
That’s good news! 😀
We serve a God who cares about people and how we are reaching out and helping other people.
In these instances (Isaiah 58 and Matt 25) God’s heart for how His people treat the people in need around them is what He both rebukes and judges them by.
He equates it with doing what pleases Him most and worships Him most. (And there are a plethora of other Biblical passages that reflect that big picture of His heart for people)
If we care about religious ordinance or proper belief more than we care about our ability to help someone, somehow, then we are missing what God cares about most. I would propose that He doesn’t care how politically correct our perspectives are as much as He cares about you and I doing something to help the needy we encounter in our lives.
God cares about people!
That is awesome! I am thankful that we serve a God who is more concerned about people than religious practices or political concerns. Aren’t you?
He cares about you!
He cares about me!
He cares about all people!
What an awesome God we serve!
How can we be helping those around us this week?