God is NOT Watching us “From a Distance”:
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18).
Do you remember the words to the old 80’s song by Bette Midler, God is Watching Us? It says, “God is watching us, from a distance…” It was a nice little song that made everyone feel good to know that somewhere, out there, God is watching us…from a distance. But as heart-warming as that song may have been, it doesn’t accurately describe the God of the Bible. God is NOT watching us “from a distance.” The sad thing is, there are many people who have that kind of a concept of God, that He’s just out there somewhere in outer space, and He may or may not be interested in the affairs of human beings down here on Planet Earth. Today, I want to show you – from the Scriptures – a different view of the God of the Bible.
Our key Scripture in Psalm 34:18 tells us that the Lord is NEAR those who have a broken heart. Do you know the difference between near and far? Let me help you to understand. I remember when I was a child, and I watched Sesame Street, and the blue furry little puppet Grover would teach about opposites. Picture Grover running right up to the TV screen and saying, “NEAR.” Then he would run back as far away from the screen as he could until he was just a little blue dot in the distance, and shout, “FAR.” Yes, near and far. Opposites. God is not far away, watching us from a distance. He is near. “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks. For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.” (Psalm 75:1). “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18).
This is Good News! The God of the Bible is not a God who is far off – a God who cannot be touched with the feelings of our weaknesses. He is a God who came near in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2:17-18 says, “Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.” Jesus knows what you’re going through – He understands. Allow me to close with a story that I think best illustrates this Scripture, and the understanding compassion of Jesus for us as weak, sinful human beings.
PUPPIES FOR SALE: (Dan Clark, from Chicken Soup for the Soul).
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.” The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said. “Can I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled and out the kennel came a Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy signaled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.” The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I ‘ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To this the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands.”
God is NOT watching us from a distance. He understands what you’re going through today. The Bible says if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” (Hebrews 4:15-16). If you’re having a bad day today, then call on His name, for He is mighty to save.
Pastor Chris Jordan