GOD HAS EMOTION
God is capable of many emotions. We want to examine some of these in
this section. We will apply this section as we go through the different
aspects of God's emotion.
Pity: What is pity? Funk and Wagnall mention, "Grief or pain awakened
by the misfortunes of others.... That which arouses compassion...." ("FUNK
AND WAGNALL'S STANDARD DESK DICTIONARY"; New York: Funk and Wagnall Inc.,
At times my wife and I see people stranded on the freeway with car trouble,
and pity is immediately on the scene. This is probably due to the times
when we have been in a hurry to get somewhere and we have had trouble.
For example the time we were planning to visit my father in the hospital
in Omaha and we lived in Denver. We found out late Friday that I had to
work Saturday so that meant driving to Omaha Saturday evening and then
back to Denver Sunday, then to school early Monday morning. At about two
o'clock Sunday morning the fuel pump went out about 15 miles from nowhere.
We completed the trip yet, this is why I hurt for troubled motorists, and
is part of the reason that I stop if things look safe.
Ps. 103:13 should be of great comfort when we are hurting or in hard
times! "As a father piteth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that
As a parent we often feel pity for our children. Once one of the boys
had a great need once and there was no way that I could meet that need
as a parent nor could he meet it himself. I felt very badly for the situation,
but you know what? God had perfect pity for that son as well as for me,
for He knows perfectly how we feel and he feels with us.
Wrath: What does wrath mean? Funk and Wagnall mentions, "Extreme or
violent rage or fury; vehement indignation."
I suspect that the later thought of "vehement indignation" would be
most fitting where God is concerned. However the first thought of rage
and fury may well relate to the Lord Jesus when He was cleansing the temple
of the trash.
Rom. 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."
You can rest in the fact that God will most assuredly take care of any
wrongs that have been done to you! Not only will God take care of it, He
will take care of it completely and justly.
Compassion: What is Compassion? Funk and Wagnall tells us, "Pity for
the suffering or distress of another, with the desire to help or spare."
When working in mid-Nebraska, a young woman came into the store and
she was a shambles emotionally. She didn't come into the store for a purchase,
but to just unload on anyone that she could find that would listen. When
she left, I was off center for an hour or two, trying to figure out how
I could help her. The desire to help was from the compassion I had for
Ps. 145:8, "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, slow to anger,
and of great mercy." Think of that one! FULL of compassion. If you need
any, He has it. He, the infinite in size is full, FULL, INFINITELY FULL
Webster mentions that compassion means to sympathize or bear or suffer.
Wow, when that hard time hits not only do we have all the pity that we
need, but we have all the co-suffering that we need. God is there to bear
with us when we have burdens to bear.
It has crossed my mind to wonder just how much God suffers as He works
with His children. As a parent, there are times when I see one of the kids
doing something that I know is going to cost them dearly, either in money
or in emotion. I want to, at times, shield them from those costs, yet know
as a parent that they need to go through those times for growth.
God must see us walking into some real problems and hurt knowing that
His children are hurting.
Hate: Funk and Wagnall relates to us, "To regard with extreme aversion;
detest." My wife will be the first to tell you that she "HATES" bugs. Bugs
of any type, size, color or harmlessness! One day we were driving around
in the van in Scottsbluff, Nebraska when a grasshopper blew in through
the vent and she panicked. We stopped and could not find the critter.
About fifteen minutes later she noticed the thing on her leg. Remembering
my concern over her outwardness of her hate which resulted in a scream,
which resulted in a panic stop because I thought something was about to
hit us, she calmly but emphatically stated, there he is. I panic stopped
again, thinking a kid was about to dart out from behind a car. She hates
Ps. 5:5, "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all
workers of iniquity." I must say that I am very glad that I am saved and
standing in the shadow of the Lord Jesus. God has a pure hate but it is
also a complete and just hate. I am so thankful that I do not have to face
Jealousy: Funk and Wagnall has several definitions, but this one seems
to fit the idea of God's jealousy best. "Vigilant in guarding: to be jealous
of a privilege." Or in God's case, of His people.
Deut. 5:9, The Lord told the Jews not to bow down to idols for He was
a jealous God. This jealousy is elsewhere likened to that of a husband
for his wife. The husband jealously cares for and keeps her from all things.
The media seems to play on the jealousy of the husband for his wife
and seeks quite often to poke fun at it. This jealousy is not necessarily
bad. It is the total desire for his wife to be what she should be to him,
and I might add that the wife should have the same type of jealousy for
The jealousy portrayed in movies of the mistrust and doubt is very negative
and should not be in a marriage.
God has sought out a people for Himself and He is jealous of any attempt
to take them away from Him.
Grief: What is grief? Funk and Wagnall, "Deep sorrow or mental distress
caused by loss, remorse, affliction, etc."
Judges 10:16, "And they put away the foreign gods from among them, and
served the Lord; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." God
grieved or hurt for the children of Israel. He is a God that hurts when
we hurt. Indeed, He probably hurts for us when we don't have sense enough
to hurt ourselves. In the case of sin we are at times suffering before
we realize it and He is already grieving for us.
Rejoicing: Isa. 62:5, mentions that the Lord rejoices over us as a bridegroom
over his bride. That's rejoicing! RIGHT YOU MARRIED PEOPLE? The only difference
is that His rejoicing is perfect and complete whereas we often, as men,
rejoice over the outward.
I have to wonder how God feels when one of His creatures comes to know
Him as Lord and Savior.
Laughing: Ps. 2:4, "He who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord
shall have them in derision." The context is that God laughs at the attempts
of men to cause God trouble. I can't imagine even thinking that there is
any trouble that we might give to an all powerful God.
I suspect that He may laugh at some of the antics that believers try
to pull on Him as well.
Sympathy: Funk and Wagnall, "The quality of being affected by the state
of another with feelings correspondent in kind." Isa. 63:9, "In all their
affliction he was afflicted," When the world is against us and we feel
like the card I gave my wife once that said, "It's you and me against the
world and personally I think we're gonna get creamed!", God is on our side
and pushing back at the world with us. He is with us in all things as we
walk with Him.
One is left to contemplate the feelings of God at the time when man
led His Son to calvary, and then killed Him on the cross. One is left to
contemplate the feelings of God as He viewed the martyrdom of His saints
over the centuries.
What are the meanings of the previous terms when they are used of God?
The definition would be the same as with man, except that there would be
no taint of sin involved in God's. These attributes would be fully functional,
and resident within God from eternity past, in a complete and pure form.
GOD IS SPIRIT
It may be difficult to truly define the idea of God being spirit. Let
us look at some thoughts.
Pardington mentions, "There is no evidence that spirit fills any part
of space, or that the Infinite Spirit is dependant on space." (Pardington,
Rev. George P. Ph.D.; "OUTLINE STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE"; Harrisburg,
PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 84)
Bancroft mentions that "God is not only Spirit, but He is pure Spirit.
He is not only not matter, but He has no necessary connection with matter."
(Taken from the book, CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY by Emery H. Bancroft. Second revised
edition Copyright 1976 by Baptist Bible College. Used by permission of
Zondervan Publishing House. p 71)
The Old Testament statements contain no direct statement, but always
assumes the fact. Spirit in the Old Testament may be referring to the entire
Let us look at some references to see what we can learn.
John 4:24, "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship
him in spirit and in truth." Does this maybe relate to the Old Testament
texts that speak of rent hearts not rent clothes (Joel 2:12,13)? I'd say
so - inward worship not outward. Idolatry is outward. He wants inward change,
not outward change. This also relates to worship in our day. He wants worship
within, not outward manifestations or antics of the body.
What did Christ mean when He said God is a Spirit? It describes His
being and existence however it is not something that we can examine. We
can experience the work of the Spirit, yet not the Spirit itself. He can
be experienced only in the heart.
Acts 19:21 Paul desired to go to Jerusalem. He "purposed in the spirit".
There seems to be a commitment to the Spirits leading in this desire to
go to Jerusalem from later information. He was experiencing something that
was leading him toward Jerusalem. (Acts 21)
Matt. 10:20, "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father
who speaketh in you." Christ was telling them that they would experience
the Lord speaking through them.
Luke 1:47, "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior." This was
Mary the mother of the Lord speaking. She had experienced the Lord. Something
within her had touched the Lord. She had been changed because of Him. The
spirit is our contact with God. We can mentally and emotionally think of
and experience God, but the spirit is our actual consciousness of the creator.
Rom. 15:30, "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's
sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in
your prayers to God for me:" Love of the Spirit, striving in prayer, and
praying together - all part of experiencing the Lord even though we do
not see Him.
Rom. 8:26,27 tells us that the Spirit makes intervention when we do
not know how to pray. There have been times when things were coming down
around me so fast that I would just sit down and tell the Lord I didn't
have any idea how to pray and that I was trusting that the Spirit would
intercede for me. If I can have God praying for me I think that I can trust
Him to do a really good job of praying for me.
Phil. 2:1 The Spirit of God can have fellowship with the believer. We
can indeed experience the Lord.
Jo. 4:24, "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him
in spirit and in truth." We may worship God!
Spirit is the name given to that which is the metaphysical center of
a being whether it is God or man. Metaphysical means something that can't
be perceived by the senses. Thus spirit is the name given to that which
we cannot perceive by touch, sight, hearing or smell, which is the center
of a being.
This is the God that we serve. He is a being that has no mass, has no
visibility, has no content, thought He is everything there is in the way
of worship. He is a complete being that we cannot examine. Maybe that is
why salvation is by faith, why we should walk by faith, why we must have
faith in Him.
Lu. 24:39, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle
me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
Christ drew attention to the fact that He was a physical being in this
text, while elsewhere He draws attention to the fact that He is God as
If no one has ever seen a spirit how do we know they exist? We can experience
the effects within us. We can't see electricity, but we see the effect
and can also feel the effect.
Jo. 3:8, "The wind bloweth where it willeth, and thou hearest the sound
of it, but canst not tell from where it cometh, and where it goeth; so
is every one that is born of the Spirit."
Since God is spirit and spirits can't be seen then we need to deal with
those times in the Scripture where men have seen God.
Ex. 24:10,11 mentions that some saw God. Isa. 6:1-5 Isaiah saw the throne
of the Lord. Lu. 3:22 mentions the Spirit as a dove. Dan. 7:9 tells us
that Daniel saw the Ancient of Days. Acts 7:56 Stephen saw Christ on the
right hand of the throne.
God doesn't have a form that is visible. He does take on forms at times
for purposes of His own. These appearances are always the Lord Jesus and
not the Father. The Holy Spirit manifests himself at times but usually
in some form other than man. (The dove of the baptism or the tongues of
flame at Pentecost.)
I Tim. 6:16, "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which
no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be
honor and power everlasting. Amen."
Paul shows that the Father has not been seen. The Old Testament contains
many occasions when the Lord Jesus appeared in the form of man, of fire,
of smoke, etc. The Holy Spirit appears in other forms as well. Paul teaches
that we cannot view God in His original form. He must cloak Himself in
other forms for us to see and withstand His glory.
At the times that man has seen God it has been what we have termed Theophanies.
We have also mentioned anthropormorphisms. This is when Scripture pictures
God with hands, eyes, ears, arms etc.
God's appearance in other than His actual form is for two reasons. His
glory would be too much for us to stand. When Moses saw God he was hidden
and what Moses saw, from the terms used, may have been just what was left
after the glory of God passed by. He is an infinite Being trying to reveal
Himself to finite beings and the Theophanies are a good way to accomplish
1. God, the perfect and pure spirit, which is unhindered by the things
that so easily draw our attention, is always and perfectly attuned to us
and our needs. Might we ask the question, "Is God always attuned to our
needs?" Might we ask the question, "Are His emotions always aimed our direction?"
YES to both questions, UNLESS SIN HINDERS IT.
To answer these questions, we might consider the fact that sin hinders
our fellowship with him. We must assume that His emotions, though still
acting on our behalf, may not have effect, or at least full effect, if
we are not walking with Him. What an encouragement to walk with Him closely!
2. When we want a perfect friend that fully understands, and one that
will fully support us, why do we go looking among men to find one? We have
one fully capable and perfectly qualified, IN RESIDENCE, if you will! Indeed,
man cannot be the comfort that God can!
May we learn to allow God to be all that He desires to be in our life.