Acts of Our Gentle God presents compelling evidence from the Bible to exonerate God of the charges that he is uncaring, judgmental, controlling, unfair, bad-tempered, or violent. The book demonstrates that the entire Bible, correctly understood, is in harmony with the definitive statement "God is love" (1 John 4:8).
Have You Ever Wondered?
In legal language, a disaster that is due entirely to the forces of nature and could not reasonably have been prevented is referred to as an act of God. This phrase is often included in insurance policies. Where did we get the idea that God is responsible for bad things that happen in our world? Does he arbitrarily decide when and where events such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occur? Does God do something to make these things happen? Does he manipulate the natural world to bring about his desired outcome? And why doesn't he do more to prevent suffering in our world? Finally, was God responsible for the violence we read about in the Bible? Did he resort to violence himself?
The Bible offers answers to these questions, but we need to look beneath the surface to find them. We also need to be willing to hear what God says about himself and how he works even if it challenges beliefs we have about him.
This book will examine the character of God as revealed in the Bible-what his actions are and, just as importantly, what they are not. Many believe that God loves us when we follow his rules but is angered by our wrongdoing and punishes those who go against his dictates. The purpose of this study is to show from the Bible that God has never acted as a destroyer but only as a Creator, Sustainer, and Savior.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Does It Really Matter?
Why is it important to know what God is like? Does it matter what we think about God? Does it even matter if we think about him at all? The answers to these questions lie at the very foundation of everything worth knowing. What we believe about God and his character determines our own character-and our character is more valuable than all the material riches this world has to offer.
Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). God the Father and God the Son are one in purpose-one in character. Their relationship is one of perfect harmony. The writer of Hebrews declares that Jesus is to God the Father "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person" (Heb. 1:3). God's glory is more than just his splendor; it is his character. When Moses asked God to show him his glory, God passed by before Moses and proclaimed his character:
The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. (Ex. 34:6–7)
To know God as he really is reconciles us to him. This knowledge is healing and life giving. Hear what Jesus said in his prayer to his Father: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Jesus demonstrated by his words and life exactly what God the Father is like. He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John 5:19).
When we know that God is consistently loving and merciful, we will be drawn to him in love and trust. We are assured of God's love and good will toward us at all times, because his ways never change. God declares in Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not." He is not changeable like we are. We can be kind, loving, and thoughtful as long as we are treated fairly and with respect, but when we encounter those who cause us harm, it is our inclination to become angry and want to retaliate. God never responds in anger or with retaliation. God's Word affirms that Jesus doesn't change and neither does the Father: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). These words also assure us that our gentle God does not have a violent side.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.-John 1:14
The author's own journey to a clearer picture of our gentle God spans over 50 years. Jay lives with his wife, Julie, in their Walden inspired cabin in the boreal forest of northern Minnesota.