He Is Our Need Shrinker

Not only is God our Father, but He is “Our Father who is in heaven.” This seems so obvious. Of course, He is in heaven! Why would Jesus have us pray this way? Perhaps because He wants to remind us that even as heaven is so much bigger than earth, so is The Father so much bigger than anything on earth! God is the need-shrinker.

There is a verse in the Psalm 73 which says, “Whom have I in heaven but you and on earth there is none beside you.”

The Psalmist came to know that since God is the greatest in heaven, how much more is He all-consuming on earth: there is none beside you! To say that God is in heaven is to say that He is so all-consuming that we need not fear any power on earth… We need not fear the future, we need not fear peoples’ opinions, we need not fear that other people will control us, we need not fear failure… Suddenly we realize that God is very big!

When we say, “God you are in heaven“, we are saying, “God you are bigger than any possible thing on earth! What should I be afraid of?” 

To say that God is in heaven is to welcome the freedom to truly live in the present. I don’t think we know just how marvelous it is to live in the moment. To acknowledge that God is in heaven is to acknowledge that there is always something greater than your company, your job, your future, or even your purpose.

When we can say with conviction, “Whom have I in heaven but you” it will be because we have already been convinced that “on earth there is none beside you.”

Since He is the God of heaven, He is the God over your every need! Nothing is outside the scope of His love, wisdom, and power!

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He Is Our Father

Jesus teaches us to talk to God as “Our Father.” Maybe that’s not just a description of God… maybe that’s His Name!

Sometimes we have thought that God’s name was revealed to Moses. “I AM”, said God to Moses when he asked God his name.

We forget that Moses – though he was a great prophet – was still a fallen man and walked in the tradition of his forefathers to whom God revealed himself in post-sin names.

Until Jesus came, we actually have no record of the pre-sin name of God.  We have no record of what Adam called God, or what God wanted Adam to call him. The names by which God is named are given to us in a fallen world.

Only the perfect man, Christ Jesus, would have known God’s name before sin came into the world. And what name does He use to refer to God? Father.

Jesus tells his disciples t to address God not as “God Most High”, “I AM”, or “Lord God”, though God is all of these names. He tells them every time they pray to address God as… Father. And as our Father, He is committed to us no matter what!

 This tells me God’s desire that we see him first and foremost as our father runs deep! Every time we are anxious, every time we hurt, every time we’re confused, every time we’re embarrassed by our own mistakes, God is The Father that is committed to us!

That’s why knowing Him first as ‘Father’ is core to our ongoing healing… All the other names of God are wonderful. But the name of ‘Father’ says “I am committed to you no matter what!”

We never have to fear that God will intimidate us. Because he’s a Good Father, He will always reveal His love even at those times He calls us to tough places of obedience, or times when He shows us where we’re missing the mark.

He’s a Good, Good Father… it’s who He is!

He Is Our Refuge

When God says that he is our refuge, I think he is saying that he recognizes our need to escape. Having a refuge in ancient times was a huge deal. We forget just how often nations were at war with one another, and how often threat seemed to loom just around the corner. So, escaping to safety was a real priority!

We often think of “escaping” as being cowardly. That people who “escape” to video games or the movies are less spiritual. But, when God calls Himself our refuge again and again, he is acknowledging our need to escape. He is acknowledging just how intense the warfare is. He is acknowledging just how difficult it is to live in such a hostile environment today. He understands your need to escape the pressures and the challenges of this life.

And he offers himself as a refuge… He is saying “It’s okay to escape to me.” So often we don’t run to God because we have built up such an image of God as the One who is going to give us an assignment, the One who is going to tell us what we have to do next, the One who is our boss… the One who is our Lord.

But when God says, “I am Lord”, He is offering us His protection not just demanding our allegiance!  He is calling us to Himself as our hide-away!

We can escape to him. If he knows how important ‘escape’ is, then will He not show himself to us as our nourisher and protector, not just Lord and director? If he knows just how important escaping to him is, do you think he will abuse his authority by turning your ‘escape times’ into harsh correction times? Or remind us just how often we don’t live up to his expectations?

Surely if he wants us to escape to him, will he not reveal himself as our ultimate enjoyment and pleasure? And will we not find comfort in His everlasting arms? Indeed, He is our refuge… He is the Great Escape!