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Near

The default location for God in our psyche is that he is remote. That relationally he has socially distanced himself from us because he is holy and powerful and we are not, and that our proximity will somehow contaminate him. Of course, that wouldn’t be in your thinking, just in everyone else’. John summarizing the work of Jesus writes, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (Jn 1:18). Jesus opens up a previously unknown possibility to the human race.Why is Jesus near the Father’s heart? Why not his head, or his mind, or his throne? Heart speaks of a person core. God’s essential character, his goodness, his love, his mercy, his passionate longing to engage with us. We see it in the OT when three men turned up at Abraham’s tent. Abraham recognized them as members of the divine council, one of them being God himself. Two of them left to check out the wickedness of the cities in the valley below. Before the team split up, we hear a little of their internal dialogue, “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” (Gen 18:17). And God begins to share his dream for Abraham, as if exposing his heart. At the end of that discourse, the Lord begins to make known his immediate intentions, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know” (Gen 18:20-21). The Lord wanted Abraham in on his thinking. He wanted Abraham’s involvement. God in his unlimited capacity could to do as he pleased he didn’t have to involve Abraham but he did. He invited Abraham into his inner world. So much so that he became vulnerable; Abraham rearranged the furniture. Abraham negotiated with God to shift the destruction threshold down from 50 to 45, to 40, to 30, to 20, to 10. Each time Abraham pushed the relationship to the edge and each time God responded favourably (Gen 18:26-32). God took Abraham at face value. It was a one on one conversation in real time. To call the dialogue anything else would be credit God with treating their relationship as cheap, and call God’s integrity into question. God took Abraham seriously as their minds met. God treats us seriously and invites us into his council. It’s the heart of the Father. God is not distant but near, incredibly near, mind to mind and heart to heart near; intimate. I think this is the place God wants us to be with him. We too can be near the father’s heart.

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