One thing that I am constantly amazed by is the incredible depth and beauty of God’s personality and emotions as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. I think all too often we can lose sight of how well God can relate to and understand how we feel as we experience the full spectrum of the emotions He created us with the capacity for. We sometimes forget that we are made in God’s image and that we have emotions just like God does. The easiest way to learn how to relate correctly to our own emotions is by looking at the Lord.
Starting on the very first page of the Bible we can see God in His perfection expressing His satisfaction with His creation. Think about the satisfaction you have felt looking at a recent finished project of yours. Whether it was some kind of artwork, a freshly manicured lawn, a cleaned and organized garage or a new table or bookshelf you built for the house, there was undoubtedly a level of pleasure and enjoyment that came from its completion. Now take that context and imagine how God must have really felt when He expressed that “it was good” during His creation of the heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31)
Once we get past the first Chapter of the Bible God begins to express different emotions; in Genesis 2:18 God says that it “is not good that man should be alone.” Then God quickly moves from expressing his satisfaction and dissatisfaction with aspects of His creation to executing judgement on Adam and Eve for their sin and rebellion. In Genesis 3:9-24 you see God curse the serpent, then Eve and then Adam. In the next chapter Genesis 4:8-15 something I found so encouraging was God’s extreme compassion as expressed to Cain after he murdered Abel. God cursed Cain because of his actions (Abel’s “blood cried out” to Him from the ground) yet when Cain expressed that his punishment was more than he could bare God immediately extended mercy and had compassion on him! God’s forgiveness, mercy and compassion is completely beyond our comprehension!
One could easily write an entire book about God’s emotions and the depth of His personality as revealed in Scripture, but for now here are just a few more references of some of the various emotions God expresses in the Bible:
- Anger – Psalm 7:11; Deuteronomy 9:22; Romans 1:18
- Laughter – Psalm 37:13; Psalm 2:4; Proverbs 1:26
- Compassion – Genesis 19:6, Psalm 135:14; Judges 2:18; Deuteronomy 32:36
- Grief – Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40
- Love – 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; Jeremiah 31:3
- Hate – Proverbs 6:16; Psalm 5:5; Psalm 11:5
- Jealousy – Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Joshua 24:19
- Joy – Nehemiah 8:10, Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 32:41
Something for us all to remember is that God can get angry and God can weep with sadness and anguish. I love the poignant expressions of Jesus’s compassion and the fullness of His emotion in the Gospel. Jesus expressed compassion for the “weary and scattered” multitude in Matthew 9:36. The story of when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) is one of my favorite accounts. One of the most beautiful things for us to remember is that we serve a God who cries with us.
“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35
God can have a broken heart and He often becomes deeply troubled when He sees his children suffering whether it be unjustly or due to their own rebellion and stubbornness. I don’t know about you, but I hate thinking about being personally responsible for my God ever experiencing heartbreak or sadness. However I find it extremely comforting and beautiful to know that if I am suffering God doesn’t just sympathize, He truly empathizes. He will meet us in our pain, our hurt and our sadness.
I hope that we can all do our best to really consider the depth of God’s emotions and the fullness of His personality and take that into account as we do our best to serve Him for the rest of our life. Let us try to stir up joy and love in God’s heart in our faithfulness and obedience to Him! In witnessing to our lost, hurting and broken brothers and sisters let us echo God’s compassion and ability to deeply feel and understand what we are going through. When the full impact of God’s emotions and understanding can really be expressed and translated to others, His truth and gift of salvation will be much more readily absorbed, felt and received.
How can you better relate to your own emotions by studying God’s holy expressions of emotion? How can you take into consideration God’s emotions to bring about more obedience and devoutness in your service to Him daily?