You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain—
  the place, O Lord, reserved for your own dwelling,
  the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.          Exodus 15:17




In place of God

In the very face of God

He loves with reckless abandon



Not our place

But his very own space

He knows no sense of bounds



On the heights

In the house of holy

He has opened wide the sacred



There are days and times when the reality of a God who pursues comes crashing in. A God who pursues, not to judge or punish or destroy. A God who pursues to love, to bring in, to heal and to hold. A God who plants tender shoots, a God who loves broken reeds and bruised branches. A God who finds a home for the scarred in the realm of the sacred.


This is our God. He loves with unabashed passion. He knows no boundaries of propriety or decorum. He loves. And this love stops at nothing to bring us home—to his home made ours.



2 thoughts on “planted

  1. Joel, I have struggled with understanding the nature of God’s “love” as described in Scripture. The best “instruction” I’ve received is by my life experience as a dad, rather than by exegesis or theology. As a dad, my primary drive is to assure my daughter has the best opportunity to live a full and complete life as a responsible and self-sufficient adult. I want her to mature and therefore to prosper in the way she deals with “reality”–the world as it is, with its demands.

    As I read Scripture, I see that God has very similar desires for His children. His driving emotion is love. Indeed He is love itself. This love however is expressed wisely, and according to the needs and best interests of His children for their maturity and growth. Now things get messy: hardship, set-backs, disease, slavery, war, and yes, severe punishment as God seems to respond with wrath or abandonment. He did so with the Jews described in Exodus, and He will do so again in the End Days and Final Judgment described in Revelation. Our God does is not a push-over, co-dependent, sin enabling God who overlooks our willful rebellion. He responds here and now, and He will respond at the time of our deaths.

    My point is that we give a false idea of God’s love if we describe it only as sweet, gentle, merciful, and healing, without regard to the actual intention and behavior of the person He loves. Our God is also a God of law and consequences, as well as forgiveness and mercy, and these qualities are completely and perfectly balanced and integrated in His essential character. I sometimes think of God as the God of the Open Door. That Door is Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for the sake of freedom. That is, God’s love is love because it rests upon our freedom to refuse to walk through the Open Door. While we don’t like to talk about this in American popular Christianity in the last 50 years, the choice not to walk through that Open Door is that we choose eternal pain and suffering, that is, we choose hell. If God is the God of Heaven, He also is the God of Hell. This is not the “dark side” of God. He has no dark side. He is pure light. But it is evidence that our convenient, comforting, sanitized idea of God is lacking. God is not to created in our 21st Century “feel good” Christianity image. He is infinite, and His ways are known only to Him.

    I trust this: God is sovereign. I trust that He is perfectly “good.” I trust that He is perfectly “just.” And surmounting all else, and at His essence, I know that He is pure “love.” What I do not know, and cannot know, is how God in His perfect wisdom, will express that love in any given situation. He will do as He pleases because He is God, and He acts to express His glory, not to please me.

    • Frank,

      Thanks for your thoughts here. I would agree with what you have said. Love, the true love God gives, does not always look as we would like it to. And it does not always “feel” like we think it should feel. Without a doubt we the church of today shys away from the wrath and anger of God. Certainly God is not only a God of sweet, gentle, merciful healing. I think what I am processing though is that this is who God desires to be with us and in us. He desires to heal and restore and love and be gentle, but our continual choosing to walk away, be selfish, commit sin upon sin, and so forth require that God respond with consequences and a holding to his standard of holiness.

      When I wrote, “A God who pursues, not to judge or punish or destroy” I was realizing that while God does do these things (and we will certainly see more of that as we go through Exodus) this is not WHY he comes, or what he wants. This is in response to our willful disobedience.

      God being soveriegn, as you point out, should be a great comfort to us. Soveriegnty, at least to my thinking, means that God looks down on us and says, “You choose who you will serve, how you will live, what you will do, and whatever you choose I will still see to it that my purposes are accomplished.” Whether that means loving us with gentleness and wild graciousness (sending Christ to die for us) or ensuring that we feel the consequences of our own rebellion he will do what needs to be done–for our good yes, but more so for his glory.

      Thanks for your thoughts today.

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