Thursday, October 24, 2019

Being godly

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.  He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.  Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Thus Moses in Deuteronomy 10:17-19.

To be God of gods and Lord of lords - to be great, mighty, and awesome - what does this look like?  According to Deuteronomy, it looks like administering justice without partiality and caring for the weak.  I think this is because if God truly is this great, he doesn't need anything from anyone.  He needn't try to keep the powerful onside by protecting their interests.  He has no need to receive anything from anyone.  He is a giver, because in himself he is full.

So to be godly - to be a follower of this God - what does it look like?

According to this passage, to be godly means to be like God.  Not in being great, mighty, and awesome; no, not that.  But by loving the sojourner, and by implication by being impartial, and just.  Being like God.  But how can we do this when we are not great - when we have to protect ourselves?  How can we do it when we are not full - and therefore have needs which we want others to fulfil?

I think that's where faith comes in.  We have to trust that God with all his awesomeness and fullness is for us, on our side.  Only if we are sure that we have all this fullness at our back will we be able to risk everything on a life which doesn't advantage us, indeed makes us desperately vulnerable.  To live for others, rather than ourselves - and not even the nice, worthy others.  That faith comes from reflection on the fact that God has in the past looked after you - remember that you were sojourners in Egypt.  Remember that God filled you when you were empty, and therefore remember that although you are still empty you are nevertheless able to pour yourself out.

Remember, in particular, that the great, mighty, and awesome God submitted to the cross for you.

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