Sunday, August 13, 2006

Trusting that God Rewards

I used to be touch uncomfortable with the very last part of Heb 11.6, "without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him."

It sounded a bit crude, that we seek God to get a reward. Of course, seeking God is a source of great reward, as God himself is our portion (as the Psalmist says). Still, it sounded crass to put it as the author of Hebrews put it, like "I've sought you God, so gimme a cookie."

But it struck me that it is ingrained in human nature to believe that God does not want to reward us. We instead believe that God wants to deprive us of good things.

Starting with Adam and Eve in the garden: Eve saw that the fruit was "good to eat." So, you see, in commanding them not to eat of the tree, God was trying to deprive them of something that was good. So they thought they were justified in rebelling against him. (Ironically, Adam and Eve grabbed only death when they reached out to grasp life on their own terms.)

Then there's Israel in the wilderness. They complained that God had brought them out of Egypt only to kill them. They complained that God could not give them the promised land, or had set them up to fail, because of the "giants" in the land.

We do not trust a father to have our best interests at heart who did not spare his only son in order to give us good things; we do not trust a savior who counted it all joy to be crucified just so that he could reward us with life.

We stare blankly at these proofs that God desires to reward us, then turn around and listen to the whispered lie that God wants to deny us good things. We don't trust God to be a rewarder of those who seek him when he desires little else than to reward those who seek him. You'd have to be crazy not to trust a God like that. But I guess we're certifiable at that (Ecc 9.3).


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