Theology of Work - Lesson 2

Who God Is: Pictures of God

Gerry Breshears
Theology of Work
Lesson 2
Watching Now
Who God Is: Pictures of God

Lesson 2 - Who God Is: Pictures of God


  1. The Relational God:  God as Unity and Trinity, in Community

Genesis 1:26-27


  1. The Self-Giving God

John 14-16


  1. False Pictures of God






  1. God as Co-worker

Genesis 2: 15-25


  1. God as dying Messiah

Genesis 3:1-24


  1. God as Covenant Partner

Isaiah 6:1-13


We are created in God's image and God invites us to be co-workers with him. By developing and using the spiritual gifts God has given us, the tasks we perform when we work have eternal significance in themselves. We also have opportunities to interact with our co-workers, promote justice and enjoy times of rest.

So what is God calling you to do? Is his calling only for pastors and “professional ministers” or is it something that applies to all of his people? Dr. Gerry Breshears, professor of systematic theology at Western Seminary, explores key questions such as who God is, what he has created people to be, how being the image of God affects the way we approach work, and what is the role of spiritual gifts in our job. This course will expand your vision of what work is all about, as you come to see yourself as God’s co-worker and representative.

Theology of Work

Dr. Gerry Breshears


Who God Is: Pictures of God

Lesson Transcript


We want to look at this whole concept of God. And if we're talking about a theology of work, it's kind of obvious that we'd want to start with God. It seems so clear and so obvious. We all know who God is. But, you know, the reality is we don't. I, I don't. And I've been teaching theology for, gosh, a long time. And think about this whole concept a lot and wrestling with scripture, doing it in community, the church, doing the community here at the seminary, doing it with people, doing with atheists, have some very interesting dialog with some atheists about who is God and what is he like. And I want to start unpacking that a little bit. So you've got your Bible drag it out. We're going to look at Scripture, we'll look at some specific scriptures and then just play with some ideas. Because although 95% of Americans say that they believe in God on an open ended survey, the number that believe in the personal covenant making partnership, entering Self-giving gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a much smaller group than that. Oh, less than half of Americans would really believe that that accurately describes God. But we do, because we believe that the Bible is true. So get your Bible. Let's look at it carefully, unpack some things and see what happens. We'll begin at the beginning, of course, Genesis chapter one. And in Genesis chapter one, it talks about in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created everything. Okay, We understand that. But what is the nature of this God I to begin with, we need to go down a little bit and look down at verse 2627, where God begins to work with humans because we see what happens.


The pattern has been God said, let there be. And it was evening and morning. Good God said, Let there be. And it was evening. Good morning. Good God said Let there be evening. Morning. And it was good. The rhythm just keeps going. He had verse 2726 and it changes. And when the rhythm changes, wow, pay attention Then God said it says, Let us make man in our image and in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds, the air over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the earth. We're drawn into a whole different level of things here. God said, let us make man in our image, in our likeness. What's this plural pronoun stuff referring to God. Is there just one God? Is there several gods? What's happening here? I'm. Who is this God? Well, when we look back to verse one, of course we see in the beginning God created heaven, the earth. But in verse two it talks about and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Well, there we have God and we have the Spirit of God. That could be poetic, but this really isn't poetic. It's narrative. And in the narrative we have God in the spirit of God, and then we have God's speaking in verse three actually is a lot of stuff that goes into this. If you go back into the pre-Christian rabbinic materials where they actually see the word of God here in the first couple verses a chapter one. God. Spirit of God. The Word of God. Early pictures of Trinity. I think. What are there? The possibilities? Well, it could be. Oh, like the Queen of England.


When she speaks as queen, she refers to herself as we and our. And obviously, there's only one queen of England. Why does she use plural pronouns to refer to herself? Well, because she is the royal person. And speaking for herself as queen is kind of what we call a plural of majesty, because she is the queen. It would be inappropriate to say I. That would be too common. So she says, we. Is that what God is doing when he says, let us make man in our image? Well, no. And here's why. When the queen expresses herself as we, she does it very consistently when she's speaking as queen. Now, when she and Prince Philip are having tea together in the afternoon by themselves, I doubt that she says, Prince, would you pass our tea to us? I don't think that would what she would say, because they're she's speaking as individual. But when she's speaking publicly, she always says we in our. Does God do that? How often does God say I versus we? And the answer is, there's only four times in the entire Bible that God refers to himself in plural pronouns here, Genesis three, Genesis 11, and Isaiah six. Every time it's I. So this can't be a plural of majesty. It can't be. Could it be God in the heavenly host, God in the angels? Well, no. And the reason is because angels don't create. Only God creates Isaiah 4424. So this is God referring to himself in plural. There's only one God to do it on me. Chapter six Heroes Rule. The Lord is God. The Lord is a hard one. So it's not a bunch of gods getting together. It's the one God, plural. And I think that is Trinity right from the beginning.


God is a community as well as a one thing. The picture we have in Scripture, of course, is the picture of marriage. We are only six. God is a hard one. Genesis two. The man will leave his family, leave his mother and father, Cleave to his wife, and the two will become one God in the same sense that a husband and wife are one God. The three persons of the Trinity are one. Even more so one. They're so God is one. But God is also three. Trinity. And this is pretty straightforward evangelical material. But stop and think what that means. What that means is, from the beginning, from before the beginning, God is related. When you say God is love. That's not like me loving myself, which is kind of a strange concept, actually. When God is loving, God is love eternally in the triune community. What that means is that God is in this partnership with the three persons of the Trinity, which is one God. I mean, who can understand that? And in that process, in the Trinity, each one loving the other. We have this picture of God in perfect relationship with the other person of the Trinity in a perfect partnership. And now there's another level beyond that. When you look in the upper room discourse, John, 14 through 16 in particular, we find the picture of the persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit there in John 14 through 16. We find all kinds of allusions to the fact that they are giving to each other. And if this understanding of Trinity is right and I'm convinced that it is God in his Triune relationship is eternally loving the others in the relationship and eternally giving to the other, because that's what love is, is seeking the benefit and welfare and best of another person.


And if God is loving the three persons of the Trinity, each loving the other, and God is giving eternal self-giving. To the three persons of the Trinity. That's the basic nature of God. The basic nature of God is that He exists in a self-giving loving, others centered community, always basic nature of God. Now, one of my interests is religion of the world. And when I look at other religions, I don't find this at all. When I think of Islam, for example, the totally sovereign Allah. He is not relational at all. He is a divine monad. There is only one period. There is no community of any kind with angels or humans ever. Very different picture of God. The many gods of Hinduism are not self-giving. In fact, they're somewhat competitive with each other. Very different picture of things. So how do we understand this triune understanding of of biblical theology where God is a eternal loving, self-giving other centered community, as well as one God who creates heaven and earth? Why does he do that? He does it because he wants to give to humans his covenant partners. He wants to extend that other centered, relational loving community partnership with human beings. They might say, Gary, you're not doing anything. That's really all that unusual. It really is. It really is. A whole lot of Christian theology is built on the idea that there is one God, and we talk about him as a one and talk about him being holy and sovereign and omniscient and omnipotent and all those kinds of things. And we do it as a one. In fact, ironically, sometimes we take the idea of God's glory as the center of everything and make everything well instead of God giving. It's God getting.


And we see everything as almost on how to set tools of God that the God creates the world and the humans for Himself in a kind of a self-centered, almost narcissistic kind of way. In fact, one of the things I find when I talk to ex Christians and atheists and anti Christians is they say your God is a narcissist. They it makes it different ways. But, you know, and when I look in scripture, I find a very different picture of God. I found a God who is self-loathing. Yes. But it's others centered. It's community, it's partnership. It's self-giving God. So when he creates human beings here in Genesis chapter one, he emphasizes the our the US, the we let us make man in our image, in our likeness. Let them that's humankind, rule or not, God rules over the fish and the livestock and the creatures on the ground. But He is making humans to be with him. God created man. He's on the image. In the image of God, He created them male and female. He created them. And then the first thing God does is he blesses them. Again, that's that first picture of God. The very first thing He does with his human beings is he blesses them. That's the Self-giving God. That's the God of grace. That's the God of love. And now, instead of just loving himself, the three person, the Trinity, each loving and giving to the other is now God. Extending that to humans who are in his image, unlike angels or stars or moons or things like that. God bless them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number. This is a God who creates humans as partners with him. Amazing. Amazing that God would do that.


He creates humans to be covenant partners with him. And when I look at other religions, especially some of the ancient Greek religions, some of the ancient near Eastern religions, that the Bible is written in the context of they see humans as servants that God creates so that he can kick back and have a party and don't have to worry about dealing with the messiness of creation. So he creates human beings that are like slaves to take care of the dirty work while he kicks back and relaxes. Not so. Not so God. Not so God. He blesses. He says, Let's work together. And He looks at all this and says, It is very good creating human beings as covenant partners from the beginning. Genesis Chapter two. Talking about the creation of Adam. He made the whole earth. And then verse seven The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground. Now, here again is this God, the ever loving self-giving other centered, gracious God who is creating human beings with his hands in the dirt. Now, again, you have to understand from as a Greek would read this, this is totally offensive To get your hands in the dirt is e e. The upper people live with the life of the mind, the philosophers, the top rank. They would never get their hands dirty. The well-to-do person would never do ordinary work. They always have slaves to do that. And here's God with his hands in the dirt, working to create Adam. And then in the incredible picture. Forms God from the dust to the ground. Hands in the dirt, personally. Present to form the human. And then he breathes into his nostrils. The breath of life. What an intimate thing. I'm trained in CPR.


I hope you are. If you're not, get it. And we learn the breath of life as a part of that, to put your mouth over somebody's mouth and literally breathe life into them. I never had to do it, but I know people who have. And that's the picture that's there. It's it's it's as intimate as a kiss because this isn't him breathing life into a stranger. This is him breathing life into a covenant partner that he's going to work with. This is the Self-giving, other oriented, gracious, loving Triune God who creates humans to give and partner with. Amazing picture. Amazing picture of God. And when you think of some of the evangelical pictures of God is the God is the holy meaning totally separated? Course that's not holy means, but it's often said holiness means separate from all creation. Not. No, no. Here is the God who is involved in creation, not separate. Let's think just a little bit. This is a little different perspective in some of the pictures of God that are out there. There's a range of pictures of God. So imagine a range here. Okay. You use your imagination. I know this is our imagination. It's a good thing God gave it to us. Let's use your imagination. You've got a spectrum, okay? And over here on on this side, you have what I call Oprah vanity, pantheism, Star Wars theology. Pantheism God. Is everything on God is the spirit of the living world. On the movie Avatar, I swear. Well, if you saw the movie, you know what I'm talking about. Everything is alive and you plug in and participate. So cool pantheism on this end. Over On this end we have deism this. And the idea that God is the creator who created this world like a clock and it runs by itself while he goes and does something else.


So pantheism everything is God. Oprah teaches this Eckhart Tolle a and her retinue of people. The world is a living place on the earth. Is your mother love your mother in the pictures, the earth God is theology. Everything is alive. It's it's imaginative. It's fun to think, gosh, everything is pulsating with the breath of God. But no pantheism. The whole world is God. There's no creation. There's no relationship. And actually, from the perspective of pantheism, you never pray. You don't pray because you meditate. I'm amazed how many people sign off and on a card to somebody who's sick and they say, My thoughts and prayers are with you. With me, your thoughts are with me. Well, where that's coming from is from Oprah vanity. And it's entered our general vocabulary. And that's what it is. I'm meditating wellness for you or something like that. As you think. So you are the course of miracles. That whole picture of pantheism is over here, and we're drawn toward that. I'm amazed how many Christians say they believe in reincarnation. I'm amazed how many Christians believe that this world is alive with the energy of God and maybe don't realize that they're buying into a pantheism where there's no relationship, there's no creator, and of course there's no salvation from that side. God is everything. One step from that is what we might call polytheism, or they're little gods, or maybe big gods everywhere. Oh, I was in Taiwan. I've been in Taiwan a number of times administering there. And it's just egregious because like every field there in central Taiwan where I did a lot of ministry work. You have a little temple, a little shrine in the field. That's where the god of that field lives.


And you feed him. And then the village, you have a little bigger temple in the city or you have a bigger temple and there be priests and serve it. And then as you get in, the regional cities are a big temple. And then Bogong, there's one big national temple where the God of Pi one lives and you've got to make them happy because if you don't make the gods happy, they will bite you. If you go into an Asian restaurant, many of them you'll walk in and there will be the God show and there will be fruit and maybe some money and some incense sticks. And it's often by the cash register. That's to keep the gods happy. That's polytheism. That's pantheism. That's over here. Very attractive. A lot of people are buying into that through Star Wars, through Wicca, through Goddess movement, through well, there's a lot of it as we go on either side over here, Deism, you know, God is the God of the scientist. We don't know how it began exactly, but God did it. God is removed, uninvolved. The world runs by itself. No Christians are deists. I mean, you can't be because God is involved in this world through incarnation or deism. I would say there'd be no miracles at all, of course, because God would never be involved in this world and no creation. Jesus is just an ordinary human being, no evangelical, believe or shouldn't. But some do. In fact. Excuse me, I think what happened with a lot of Christians is what I call well, let me define it first semi deism, not pure deism, but some ideas. Christian Smith is the one that coined this term and I like it. Semi deism is the idea that God's up there he is sovereign and removed and holy and separate and he occasionally comes down here but soon goes back.


And Jesus, of course, is the greatest miracle where God came to Earth, lived here for 30 years, died for the sins of the world and headed back to heaven and makes occasional forays, but not often. That actually is the theology of much of the Christian church. It actually is. As I listen around the place, I see this happening in kind of an odd way, the very good course of in financial planning, the most popular course in the church today is on financial planning, ironically. And what it is at that spot is the basic idea is God wants us to be well equipped to take care of ourselves. So get out of debt, pay off your finances, get a41k going live well, but instead of debt and provide for your future because fundamentally you're on your own. I mean, that's that's really is what's behind that. And I'm not against these things at all. In fact I'm very for them because in our consumerist, materialistic, debt ridden society, getting out of debt and handling your finances well is really important. But it's the theology behind it that I'm watching because so many people do this because they buy into some ideas of God is out there somewhere and we're on our own. So I don't think that's the right picture. And we do that in the name of the sovereign, Holy God and God is sovereign and God is holy. But we define that as God is sovereign. He's kind of the puppet master in the sky and he's holy meaning separate from all creation. And those are wrong understandings of those true concepts in a semi theistic way. God comes to earth occasionally, but mostly we're on our own. Gosh, examine because the picture we find in Scripture is neither the pantheism or polytheism.


Well, I could go on to other things there, but I don't need to do that. Or on the other side, the deism, the SEM ideas. And what we have here is over here the whole world is the Kingdom of God, because God is the world and the world is God. Over here we have Heaven is the Kingdom of God. The Earth is not. And when we die, we go to heaven, and that's the kingdom of God. What I see happening in Scripture, what I see happening in Genesis Chapter one, is a very different kind of thing. I see God as the eternally loving self-giving other centered, gracious God who creates humans to be His covenant partners. And He works together with us in a close relationship all the time now, I'm sure, to Genesis Chapter two. Oh God creates Adam in this very intimate way, hands in the dirt kiss of life, and he plants the garden, fills it full of marvelous things because God is a self-giving lavish giver, and he puts all these things in the garden for Adam and Eve to enjoy trees that are pleasing eye, good for food, rivers to water the land. And then he took them in and put him in that garden to work it and care for it. Work is there from the beginning. And it's not just Adam who works. I mean, look at the passage. It goes on. We're not meant to be alone as God is not meant alone. He we need a helper. So the Lord God had formed all the ground, all the. And He brings them to the man to see what he would name them. Now, look at this picture. Here is the sovereign, Holy God, standing with Adam, his creation, bringing this animal.


Let's say it's a dog and God brings this dog up to Adam, his covenant partner. And he says, Adam, what's what what do you want to call this? And Adam says, How about if we call it Fido? Good God said, I like that. And I'm not being totally serious here. But actually it's something like that is the picture. They're working together to care and nurture and rule over the beasts of the garden. And God has done this to work together. And when He creates Eve, he doesn't create it out of the ground. He could do easily created out of the dirt. That would been very cool. But he, in a way, works with Adam and takes the rib from Adam and forms the woman from that and then brings this thing to Adam, his covenant partner. And God waits for Adam's response. Born of my own flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman. How cool is that? And God blesses. And here we have this covenant partnership. Who is this God? He is the eternally three in one self-giving. Other centered, gracious working involved God, not pantheistic, not deist, not semi idealistic coming into world occasionally, but in the world not equals the world but present in the world. That's the picture of God. Now a question. After the fall Genesis Chapter three. Where did God go or to God go? Did He boogey out and go to heaven? No, No. Genesis Chapter three. Sin. God. Sin happened. Horrible. Adam. Eve. Hiding in the bushes, making fig leaves. Goodness. And what does God do? He comes. Amazing. Chapter eight I'm sorry. Chapter three. Verse eight. The man and his wife heard God walking in the garden. Now, did God know they committed the sin? Yeah.


Mm hmm. Yeah, he did. And he comes and he's walking in the garden and he calls, Where are you? Verse nine. Does God know what happened? Yeah. I mean, you can read the narrative, you see, he doesn't. But God is omniscient. What does he do with his covenant partners when they have sinned and made them so spiritually dead? They have cut themselves off from God. They're hiding in the bushes. Where are you, Adam? I heard you in the garden as afraid because I was naked and I hid God questions again. Who told your naked? Have you eaten the tree? What is God doing here? What is this picture of God in the context of horrific sin, betrayal of the deep, intimate trust of God and the covenant partner. He's asking them questions, not preaching at them, not screaming at them. What are they doing with his probing questions? He's helping them confess their sin. He's asking questions of self-examination so that they can understand and confess their soon to whom? To the gracious other centered self-giving God. He couldn't just drop a rock on him. He could have just killed them. He told them, after all, that the penalty of eating the tree would be death. And they knew that he could have just, you know, flamed them. Instead, he comes and he calls and he invites them to confess. The Self-giving relational god, and he curses the livestock. Sorry. Cursed the snake. Cursed the snake, the serpent figure. But even in that curse, Genesis 315, we know the passage. Of course. Genesis 315 Oh, put in between you and the woman in between her offspring and hers. Your hers. He the offspring. The seed will crush your head. And you, the serpent will strike his heel.


Here is the promise of Messiah. Now think again With this the ever loving self-giving others centered, gracious partner making God. Goes a step further in the context of sin. He comes, he calls, he invites for confession, and they are helped to confess. They don't do it well, but they do it. And God makes this promise in the context of cursing the snake. That this offspring Messiah. Will crush the head of the serpent, and the serpent will strike his heel, the offspring's, the Messiah's heel. What does that mean? What it means is that an offspring, a messiah, the Son of God, become incarnate. We find out, will come in and crush the head of the serpent. But in that process, the serpent will strike his heel. And when a viper strikes your heel, you die. This is a picture of Messiah who will come and give his life. To kill the snake. This is a picture of God who is going to come and take sin to himself to destroy sin, and it will cost him his life. They're going to die to bring salvation, to destroy sin. Picture of not just the incarnation, not just the Messiah, but the death of Messiah. This seed picture of the seed Messi. Incredible, Incredible. Incredible. He goes on in verse 21 Lord God made garments of skin. Picture of the sacrificial system where he's going to give clothing. Verse 22, He, the tree of life, somehow has become toxic. So he expels them from the presence of the Tree of Life because eating it in some way would mess them up. And even in his expulsion of the garden, he's actually protecting. Who is this God triune, ever loving, other centered self giving, even to the point of divine death, gracious partner making God.


It's the God of Scripture. It's the God who calls us into covenant partnership with him. Because as we do this whole theology of what we call the Kingdom of God, what he calls the Kingdom of God, what we could call the Divine Rescue mission, that begins with Eve and Adam, but goes on in a context of increasing sin. In chapter four, The Call of Abraham and Chapter 12 to be again this covenant partner with him. This is a picture of God who creates humans as covenant partners with Him to work together. I believe in every phase of our life. This picture of God is just an astonishing, astonishing picture. Let me give you one more picture as you think about this God who creates covenant partners? Because when we think about this God, he is not the one who generally does things to himself. He is one who involves others to do it. I just want to look at one picture, and that's in Isaiah. So in Toronto is a chapter six. I will look at this together. It's just it's an amazing picture. Amazing picture. Isaiah chapter six. Everything's gone upside down. Israel has been ignoring the word of God for hundreds of years. Judgment is near. Chapter five is talking about We tear down the walls of the vineyard in the a horrible picture and we have Isaiah's commission. Your King, as I did, I saw the Lord seated on a throne high exalted the train, His robe fill the temple. There were set of six wings, and they did all this thing calling to one another. Holy, holy, holy is Lord Almighty. The whole Earth is full of His glory. So here's the Holy Thrice Holy God, The Earth is full of His glory.


Now what temple is this? The Treaty of Rome filled the temple. What temple is this? We'll keep reading the door posts and thresholds. Sure. The temples filled with smoke. In verse six, we see one who serves flies and gets a call off the altar. What? Temples? I think it's the Jerusalem temple. I don't think Isaiah is caught up in the heaven. I think God is come to the truce on the temple. And that's where He meets Isaiah as, say, ideas come to the temple to worship the thrice Holy God. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, not separate from all creation, but present increase, just like Genesis Chapter three. Isaiah's response? Four, seven or verse five not. Let me ask you, is he a good guy or a bad guy? Is it a good guy or a bad guy? I can't hear your answer. Speak louder. Almost everybody else says Good guy. But he's not. He's not. Look at what it says. Isaiah, Chapter six, verse five. What he says is, Woe is me. I am ruined. I'm a man of unclean lips and I live in a people unclean lips. I am ruined. He's a bad guy. The amazing thing is that the thrice holy God comes to a bad guy in verse six after Isaiah confesses his sin. Remember Genesis Chapter three. Isaiah Chapter six. Same thing. Isaiah confesses his sin. I am a man of unclean lips. Then one of the serfs flew to me with a life cold in his hand, where he'd taken from the thong tongues, the altar with it. He touched my mouth and said, See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away. And you're seeing a tone for now. Who sent Isaiah's? What happens to it? God is going to take that sin to himself.


In atonement, in Messiah, the promised seed on Calvary, that sin is going to come into God and He is going to make the perpetuators sacrifice and the guilt is taken away and the sin is atone for. Wow. That's that's a partnership. That's a self-giving covenant partner redeeming God. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? There's a plural pronoun again. In Isaiah's response, he was, I think, kind of on his face, Woe is me. But now he says, Here I am, God, send me. Now put your imagination to a little bit. What is Isaiah's posture? Is he on his face? Woe is me. No. Is he? Well, what he is doing, I mean, the text is really clear. He's volunteering himself. He's nominating himself. God, I'm your guy. This is the human being in the presence of Christ. Holy God. Yeah. As covenant partners again, God says, I need a partner. Isaiah says, I'm your guy. You now my picture and my imagination, it's almost like is a little kid jumping up and down excited. I mean, I'm. Please, I'm here. Please, please. That's scary. But he is nominating himself to be again covenant partner. So God says, okay, you're the guy just like he did Adam back in the garden in Genesis chapter two. And he says to Isaiah, Go tell the people. Now, the message of Isaiah is important. And I think this is a place where some of the interpretations are wrong. But this one, I think, is back in chapter one. The message of Isaiah is back in chapter one, verse 18 Come now, let us reason together. But your sender is scarlet. They shall be as white as snow, the red like crimson.


They will be as wore. If you're willing and obedient, you will eat the best of the land. If you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. That's the message of Isaiah. Go and tell this, people. Come, let us reason together. Though your sins of scarring can be as white as snow, if you're willing or be, lead the best of the land if you resist and rebuild. Devoured by the sword. And the response is we ever hearing. What will they hear? Come on. That's reason to go there. But never understanding to be ever seen. What will they see? The cleansed Prophet, but never perceiving in that message will make the heart of this people callous. They will make their eyes and their ears dull. Close their eyes. How come God is calling? Just like He did Adam and Eve? Come, let us reason together. And that call will ironically harden them as they refuse it. The thrice holy God to a willing confessor will cleanse the thrice Holy God to the resistant. Will destroy. This is how long, Lord, how long will I say come? Let us reason together. The soon to be discovered themes white as snow. If you're willing obedient, you'll eat the best of land. If you resist and rebuild, you'll be devoured by the sword. How long until the cities lie ruined without inhabitant? Till the houses are left deserted, the fields ruined and ravaged until it's like a clear cut forest. In the image that he uses here, Isaiah is keep giving the gospel call until the day of judgment. This is the thrice holy self-giving redeeming, others centered partner making God because he asks Isaiah to partner with him.


And even in the day of judgment, even when this clear cut forced it, the last phrase, the thing is, so the holy seed will be in the stump. Holy See, that's the Genesis three Messiah. God is the one who calls to redemption, But He involves Isaiah in that divine rescue mission as a part of the work that he does to call us back into partnership relation with him. And I hope that you have responded to that. If you're listening to this, I kind of assume that you have if you haven't. Gosh, have I got good news for you? You can join in with this other centered partner making covenant, keeping loving, gracious self-giving God who involves us in his work, not just in the garden, but today, not just in the church, but in the world, to do his work of recreating the shalom of the garden. That's a picture of God present, not some idealistic, not pantheistic, not removed, but His Holiness that comes and cleanses responsive folk, the Redeemer God, the loving God, the gracious God, the other centered God, the partner making God. What more we could say there. I invite you to a journey to look at the God and do with your Bibles open.


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