Light of the World: Day Nineteen
Father of Lights
Read James 1:16-18
Earlier this week, I woke up to my husband gently nudging me, telling me to come out to the dining room right away. I groggily grabbed my glasses and stumbled out to the living room to discover a fairly large, wrapped present in the middle of the room. My husband was standing there with a huge smile on his face and said, “open it!” I was so confused as to why, on this seemingly random day, my husband would choose to have me open a gift early. I opened the wrapping paper to reveal a beautiful standing mixer. Something I’ve been wanting for a long time but just never wanted to spend the money to purchase for myself. Not only this, but it suddenly became clear why he wanted me to open this specific gift early – he knew I was going to spend the day baking with my girls. It was a thoughtful, kind, generous, and excellently timed gift. It was the perfect gift.
James 1:17 tells us that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
Paul described God as the giver of life, and breath, and everything else.
Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Jesus also described God as being a good Father who knows how to give good gifts to his children.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
David agreed when described the "benefits" God supplies:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Over and over in Scripture, we see God being a generous and gracious Father who lavishes steadfast love and kindness upon his children. But the best of the gifts God gives is the free gift of salvation.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
James seeks to make it clear that he specifically has the gift of salvation in mind in verse 18 by saying that we are, “a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” This phrase is often employed in the NT to describe those who are born again and thus, have become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).
James also describes God as “the Father of lights.” Lights here refers to the heavenly lights: the sun, moon, and stars. God is the Father of these lights in that he created them just as he created us. And yet, unlike the sun, moon, and stars that are constantly changing, God never changes.
A few nights ago, people across the world sat outside at sunset to behold, “The Christmas Star.” This was an incredibly rare event, scientists said it hadn’t happened in over 800 years, where Saturn and Jupiter were going to line-up in their orbits so that it would appear that they were not two separate planets, but one giant star. We were able to see “The Christmas Star” from our front yard. It was exceptionally bright and beautiful! But about 45 minutes afterward we went back outside to see it again, and it was already gone. The ever-revolving earth and the planets in motion had already moved enough in 45 minutes, that the “The Christmas Star” was already gone.
Not so with God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His character is unchanging (Malachi 3:6). His gifts are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). He is faithful to keep his promises (as we saw from the protoevangelium and the Abrahamic Covenant). Though others change, he remains the same (Psalm 102:25-27).
What a kind and gracious heavenly Father we have who knows our weakness and supplies us with everything we need; and often times, above and beyond what we need so that our cup overflows (Psalm 23:5). He is the ultimate gift-giver!
Action Point: Consider the good things God has filled your life with. Praise and thank him today for being an unchanging, good, and generous Father who gives good gifts to his children. Ask him to show you how you can mimic his generosity and kindness to those around you today.