DO YOU SEE GOD AS YOUR LORD OR YOUR FAIRY GODMOTHER?
Most of us would agree that God is kind. In fact, we would say He is too kind, too merciful, because He patiently delays judgment for the evil we see in the world, not wanting even the most wicked people to perish (2 Peter 3:9). One refrain in the Bible is the line,
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Chronicles 16:34
He is a God who gives and gives again. The Bible attests to this repeatedly and we keep experiencing His bounties in our lives.
“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
“You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” – Psalm 145:9, 15-16 (ESV)
“…: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”- Psalm 33:5
(Related: Choose To Enjoy The Infinite Goodness Of God)
As a result, some of us tend to equate God with the fairy godmothers* in folklore or the movies. To us, He’s this invisible, super-benevolent Being we can call on whenever and have our wishes granted.
However, there is another side of God that is often glossed over, and that is His lordship. All over the Bible, we hear God saying, “I am the LORD” (e.g. Exodus 6:2). What does that really mean? It means that He is our Master, He owns us and has the right to direct every aspect of our lives. And because He is God our Maker, not just a human master, we owe Him worship and adoration.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
“You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you.” – Deuteronomy 6:17 (ESV)
“12. And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
“13. To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” – Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Modern man has very little understanding of the concept of lordship but Old Testament accounts from the time of slavery paint a good picture. Without mincing words, one is a slave to their master and these are some of the features of a master-slave relationship:
a. The slave is the property of the master to be used and disposed of at his pleasure. (Recall the story of Hagar and her mistress, Sarah, in Genesis 16, 21:1-14). Sarah gave Hagar to her husband, Abraham for a wife and subsequently asked Abraham to send Hagar away.
b. The slave is at the beck and call of the master.
c. The slave obeys the master unquestioningly.
d. The slave can suggest what he considers good ideas to the master, as the captive Israeli girl did to her mistress, Naaman’s wife, when she said Naaman should seek healing from the prophet in Samaria (2 Kings 5:1-3). But decisions as to what to do and their implementation are at the master’s say-so.
The foregoing is by no means an exhaustive list but it will suffice because it paints a good picture of the nature of the relationship between slaves and their masters/mistresses.
However, there are benevolent masters that treat their slaves as their own children and even grant them an inheritance in their homes.
Our relationship with God is complicated because He is both our Father, Friend and Master. When we come into faith through the salvation gained through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, we become God’s children.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” – John 1:12
Jesus Himself calls us His disciples His friends.
“12. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
“13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
“14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
“15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” – John 15:12-15
(Related: Against All Odds- The Example of Jesus)
But these other dimensions of our relationship with God often overshadow the dimension that grounds us and gives meaning to the other two, which is that He is our Lord. To show the connection between friendship with God and His lordship, look at John 15:14 (above) again. Obedience to God is proof of our love for Him. This idea is emphasised in the previous chapter, in verses 15, 21, 23-24.
“23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
“24. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” – John 14:23-24
The same is true of God’s fatherhood. It demands obedience of us, His children, not just “Give me, give me!”
“I, the LORD All-Powerful, have something to say to you … Children respect their fathers, and servants respect their masters. I am your father and your master, so why don’t you respect me? …” – Malachi 1:6 (CEV)
And to show us how important obedience to His commandments is as an expression of our acknowledgement of Him as our Father and Friend, God rebuked the children of Israel thus in Jeremiah 3:4-5.
“4. Have you not just called to me:
‘My Father, my friend from my youth,
5 “5. will you always be angry?
Will your wrath continue forever?’
This is how you talk,
but you do all the evil you can.” (NIV)
God loves us and wants the best for us but He hates sin. Living in disobedience to Him makes Him angry as we see in the passage above. And those who persist in making God angry end up badly but those who please Him are extravagantly blessed.
“2. Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
“3. The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
“4. Woe to the sinful nation,
a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
“5. Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
“6. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with olive oil.
“7. Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
“8. Daughter Zion is left
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a cucumber field,
like a city under siege.” – Isaiah 1:2-8 (NIV)
(Related: 7 Lessons In How Not To Live- The Story Of Abner)
But besides the things suffered in this life, the disobedient stand the risk of being eternally separated from God (Revelation 21:8).
It is worth noting that God’s commands are not burdensome and they are actually for our own good.
“We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.” – 1 John 5:3 (CEV)
“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” – Deuteronomy 5:29
God made us to love Him and to always be in a mutually joyous relationship with Him. No matter how sweet our words are in worship, if we don’t live as He has commanded us in His word, we are deceiving and setting ourselves up for a nasty surprise. When we need Him most, God may tell us exactly where we stand with Him.
So, instead of focusing on making up lists of stuff to demand from God everyday, our greater concern should be to please Him and when we do, He will do much more than we could ever ask for.
“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” – Psalm 31:19
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11
“[God will do] superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].” – Ephesians 3:20 (AMPC)
That is my portion in Christ Jesus and it can be yours too if you determine to live in humble obedience to God everyday.
Thank You, Almighty God, for making me in Your image and being the best Father, Friend and Lord to me. Grant me the hunger and the grace to please You in all my ways. May I not abuse my relationship with You by being all about getting stuff from You while continuing to live in sin. Help me to honour You this and every day, Lord, in Jesus’ name.
*(Although I’ve used a graphic representation of them in this post, note that I do not believe in the existence of fairy godmothers in a literal sense.)
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
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