A God Who Takes
I recently heard a preacher make a statement to the effect of, ‘we can begin to think of God as a God who only takes’. This statement (and his entire message, really) struck me as being accurate. Why accurate? Because, as that speaker pointed out, we have the ability, and even the tendency, to look at God incorrectly. To understand Him correctly, we must identify His motives. God commands all people repent and turn to Him for salvation (Acts 17.30-31). He also encourages His people to pray for sinners to seek salvation (1 Timothy 2.1-4). To this end, God has given His Son as a sacrifice so that death would have no power.
God has given salvation for all who would receive it. He also gives time. I have heard another preacher (whom I greatly miss) describe how Hezekiah was granted time. His point was that we may have already been granted more time than we would have had, had prayers not intervened. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3.9). Scripture is crystal clear, in MANY passages, stating, there will be a day of reckoning. There is a fixed moment in time when each person’s life will be examined. And it is specifically because of that day that Jesus was given, as a gift to mankind, so that we could receive salvation.
Which brings me to the dichotomy of God being a ‘taker’. He does. God takes His time bringing about that day of reckoning. God has taken it upon Himself to offer Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. And God will take all sinners who call on His name for that salvation. Yes, God is a taker. He takes the insults and hatred that this world spews at Him daily, and He patiently waits for those enemies to come to Him so that He can save them. Read that again, His enemies. He takes time to save His enemies. Hallelujah!
He also takes pleasure. Psalm 149.4 states, “the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” Every enemy that accepts salvation from Him is a pleasure. Our God does not start each day looking for ways to take from us; He gives us each day to take the salvation He offers.