Summary: God reveals His Fatherly love to His children, but it remains our choice to respond to that love.
Introduction: A couple of months ago I showed you a short film from the Nooma series by Pastor Rob Bell called “Lump.” It was about his son, and a little white ball, and hitting his brother, and to top it all off lying to his parents. Do you remember the young boy curled up under the covers on his parent’s bed in shame and how His Father reached out to him and gave him the opportunity to find forgiveness and healing? At the heart of that message was the question, “What are you hiding from?”
Because I got several positive responses to using the film, I want to use another of Pastor Rob’s videos today. This was actually the first one he made, and I must say it remains one of my personal favorites. I thought the theme would be especially appropriate since today is Father’s Day. It’s called “Rain.”
Video: Nooma 001—Rain
I don’t know about you, but that image of a Father carrying his son really resonates with me. I guess part of it is the fact that I have spent so many years preaching my “Emmanuel” message—God with us. I love hearing Rob say over and over, “Hang in their buddy…I’m right here…I’ve got you buddy….” That is the same message that I hear our Heavenly Father saying throughout the generations of man.
We all face storms. The rain is going to come, that’s a given. What isn’t a given is how you and I are going to respond to the downpour when it hits. Do we trust God enough to hang on to Him, to follow Him, to do what He asks us to do in the midst of the storm? Sometimes I wish we were in a backpack being carried by God and that we couldn’t do anything but hold on. Surely then we would learn to trust Him, right? Maybe.
Maybe not. Let me read you a passage of Scripture from Deuteronomy chapter 1. Rob mentioned it in the film, and I want to use it as my challenge for us today. Before I read let me set the stage for you.
It had been over 40 years since used Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. In their disobedience they had lost the chance to enter the Promised Land and instead an entire generation had to pass away before the Lord would give them a second shot. The Book of Deuteronomy is all about preparing them for that second shot.
In the opening chapter Moses reminds them of the choice that their Father’s had made and the tragic results. Listen to Moses’ reminder of what he told the people 40 years earlier as the contemplated choosing their way instead of God’s way:
30The LORD your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. 31And you saw in the wilderness how the LORD your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. 32But in spite of this you did not trust the LORD your God,
As a man carries his son, the LORD carried His people.
He still does!
God is still a God of deliverance—you can have freedom from both the penalty and power of sin.
God is still a God of compassion—you can experience the closeness of a personal relationship with Him.
God is still a God of 2nd, and 3rd, 4th chances—others may have given up on you, and you may have given up on yourself, but I can assure God has not!
The real challenge is avoiding the mistake of the Israelites, and the mistake far too many of us have made time and again—in spite of [all He has done, we do] not trust the LORD [our] God.
Does God still have to prove Himself to you?
Is there more He must to do show you how great is love truly is?
If giving His Son isn’t enough, then what would be?
If He made you rich will you trust Him?
If He gave you everything you ask for will you trust Him?
What does He have to do to earn your trust?
The Children of Israel refused to enter the Promised Land because they didn’t TRUST God. The result—40 years of wandering, and a lost opportunity for an entire generation. From their perspective the problems ahead of them were bigger than the power behind them. And while I’d like to really blast them for their lack of faith, I don’t think we are all that different today. There in the midst of their storm—and in their eyes it was a “giant” of a storm—they had to make a choice: Will we trust the LORD our God?