“To the prophet, God does not reveal himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a specific and unique way – in a personal and intimate relation to the world. God does not simply command and expect obedience; He is also moved and affected by what happens in the world and he reacts accordingly. Events and human actions arouse in Him joy or sorrow, pleasure or wrath. He is not conceived as judging facts, so to speak, ‘objectively,’ in detached impassibility. He reacts in an intimate and subjective manner…. Quite obviously in the Biblical view, man’s deeds can move Him, affect Him, grieve Him, or, on the other hand, gladden and please Him. This notion that God can be intimately affected, that He possesses not merely intelligence and will, but also feeling and pathos, basically defines the prophetic consciousness of God.
…the God of Israel is a God Who loves, a God Who is Known to, and concerned with, man. He not only rules the world in the majesty of His might and wisdom, but reacts intimately to the events of history. …God does not stand outside the range of human suffering and sorrow. He is personally involved in, even stirred by, the conduct and fate of man. Man is not only an image of God; he is a perpetual concern of God. The idea of pathos adds a new dimension to human existence. Whatever man does affects not only his own life, but also the life of God insofar as it is directed to man. The import of man raises him beyond the level of mere creature. He is a consort, a partner, a factor in the life of God.” Abraham Heschel
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there….
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’”
Moving From Head to Heart
- Does a God of pathos challenge your understanding of God? Can you allow Biblical language to critique what you may have picked up elsewhere?
- To refer to man as “a consort, a partner … of God” seems shocking, even outrageous. And yet…. Do you think of God as a lover? hurt by your rejections? gladdened by your love?
- “… it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.” (Emerson) How is your vision of God shaping you?
Abba, may I bring you much joy.
For More: Between God and Man by Abraham Heschel
Thanks for reading “Daily Riches!” – Bill (Psalm 90:14)