‘God is love’ – but he is not only love. Those who have fallen from his favor have well tasted the bitter fruit, and the gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness outside of his love, be it in the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom, the plagues upon Egypt, or in the Holocaust. The Bible records more than several times the wrath of God manifested when patience ends and judgment begins. Indeed, ‘The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’.
A word that might well best apply to God and his character is trust. Any who have trusted in God has found that he is trustworthy. And it seems to be that the more we trust God, the more he amazingly trusts us, which is the definition of true freedom. Also amazingly, God has entrusted us. He has entrusted us with the body in which we walk and breathe and have our being, crowned by the brain, unlimited in its vast abilities to imagine and create, to do good or evil. He has entrusted us with this planet Earth as caretakers. And he has entrusted us with his Messiah, and then with his own Spirit to dwell in us. He has given us all that in trust, meaning even so, we are still free to choose to go out and commit the worst of sins and crimes, no less than Cain. In our granted freedom, we are expected to be trustworthy.
Consider King David, who is called by God “a man after my own heart.” And yet this chosen king, entrusted with the kingdom of Israel and every honor and power and success, yet fell and broke the greatest commandments. Yeshua said, “Now remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,” and yet the beloved David failed to fulfill that requirement on many occasions, though he knew those divine commands. But David also knew that one of the great commands is repentance, and he did so before all, in tears confessing his own transgressions in writing before the entire nation- and in later translation, to all nations. And so David remained in the love of God.
A good and true friend is one in whom we can trust, who will not betray that trust. The betrayal of trust is devastatingly destructive and, like a broken spinal cord that permanently paralyzes, cannot be restored back together. God is a true friend, worthy of the motto “In God We Trust.” May we also be trustworthy friends to God, and to each other, for “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10), in order that we may be entrusted with even more, and remain in his love.