THE GRANDFATHER GOD.
A six-year-old boy named Aaron described God: "He's old. It's been a long time since he was a kid!"
His seven-year-old sister, Aubrey, offered a more specific portrait of God when she added, "He's like seventy or seventy-two. He's like everybody's grandpa in the whole world." Then she added thoughtfully, "Except he's not our grandpa, he's our Father."
A lot of kids (even older kids) share Aubrey and Aaron's ideas of God as an old man, maybe with white hair and a beard. They think of God as a white-haired old man with rosy cheeks, who pats children on the head and gives them gifts. He's a "Grandfather God" to them. And like most grandparents, this nice old man doesn't discipline or punish anyone; instead, he takes kids to the park or buys them ice cream.
The "Grandfather God" is an understandable idea of God. After all, God has been around a long time. The Old Testament vision of Daniel revealed God as "the Ancient of Days" who, in fact, was described as having hair which was "white like wool." (See Daniel 7:9, NIV.)
He is also loving and kind. The prophet Jeremiah said, "Long ago the Lord said to Israel: 'I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself'" (Jeremiah 31:3).
But God is no doddering old man. He doesn't shuffle across heaven's floor in loose-fitting slippers. He doesn't have to put in his false teeth every morning. He is the "eternal, immortal, invisible [King], the only God" (1 Timothy 1:17, NIV).
All this is important because we need to realize that God doesn't wink at his children's sin like a grandfather who pats mischievous kids on the head. He expelled man and woman from the Garden of Eden because of sin. He flooded the world because of sin. He vaporized Sodom and Gomorrah because of sin. He sent his only Son to die on a cruel cross because of sin.
God is loving and kind, but he will not excuse our sin. He went to a lot of trouble to prove that he takes sin seriously.
Since he takes sin seriously, we should too. We should not expect him to pat us on the head when we do wrong; instead, we should ask for his forgiveness and for him to help us "sin no more" (John 8:11). We should love God, but we should also respect him. We should "be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully," especially when we "consider what great things he has done for [us]" (1 Samuel 12:24, NIV).
REFLECT: How do you view God? Is he a "Grandfather God" to you? Why or why not? Do you love and respect God? If so, why? What "great things" has God done for you?
PRAY: "God, you are the 'eternal, immortal, invisible [King], the only God.' I love you, Lord. I fear and respect you. And I want to serve you faithfully as long as I live."