1999-03-31 - The Greatest Courtship Ever
French writer Julien Green has described God's seeking us in love, as a "thread" that runs throughout the Bible. After Eve and Adam sinned, God could have given up on mankind, banished us from His Holy presence forever. But He wants us with Him, and He had already provided for our forgiveness, from the beginning.
Rev 13:8 (NRSV) "and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered."
Moving to the Promised Land with the Israelites, we see that God certainly had ample opportunity to give up on them. They grumbled and disobeyed Him over and over. Yet over and over He gave them another chance. The beautiful story of Hosea and his prostitute wife show us God's incredible, unconditional love for His people.
Hosea 2:14-16 (NNAS) ""Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness And speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. It will come about in that day," declares the LORD, "That you will call Me Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali.
Note the word that is used in verse 14 -- God "allured" Israel. He woos us. He loves us so much that even when we have been unfaithful to Him, He seeks us out. God showed us another beautiful depiction of His deep love for us in the parable of "the prodigal son."
Luke 15:20 (NNAS) ""So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." "While he was still a long way off," the father ran to him. He met him on the way. The father did not let the son's sins keep separating them.
Nor did God let our sins separate us permanently from Him. He made an unthinkable sacrifice - the life of His only begotten Son - for our sakes. And He did this, knowing full well all the sins we would commit. He sought us out, provided a way to reconcile us to Himself.
Rom 5:8-10 (NNAS) "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
God's love for us is unconditional. He hates our sin. But oh how He loves us. No matter what we have done or will do, He loves us. He loves the serial murderer just as much as the nun. He loves us as much when we are at our worst, as when we are at our best. As Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in Psalm 118:1, "His love never quits." I think that's beyond our comprehension. But we need to think about it, meditate on it, thank Him for it, show our gratefulness for it.
If you are not as close to God as you want to be or used to be, pray to Him. He will meet you on the way, too. I hope and pray you all feel the embrace of His love.
Dear Lord, help us to better grasp Your unconditional love for us. And help us to live out our gratitude to You, and to reflect Your love, in our everyday lives. In Jesus' name amen.