Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Divine Love

Do you remember the first time your child broke your her words pierced your insides or his “NO!” pummeled your gut? The rebellious words stung with intensity—so much for the old adage ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ Not only spitting hurtful words, but the fact that your own child would oppose you crushes something deep inside. How can someone whom you love and provide for rise up against you? Imagine how God, our Creator, feels!
How deeply does God feel? Does our Creator and Redeemer ache from our rebellion? Of course He does! He created us for relationship. He sent His Son to die for us so that we might be saved to live with Him in eternity. Read Ephesians 3:16-19 (NKJV) to discover how much God loves us.
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
God’s feelings for us are profound and His Word continually reminds us of His love. Read of His love for Israel through Hosea, God’s prophet who demonstrated God’s love by loving an adulterer. As you read about Israel’s rebellion, remember the pain you’ve felt when your own child refused to obey you. God feels the same pain (maybe more) when we turn from Him.
The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea 3:1 (NIV)
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love;
I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.
“Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates
and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High,
he will by no means exalt them.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you.
I will not come in wrath. Hosea 11:1-9 (NIV)
How would we react if more than just our children opposed us? Would we be filled with compassion or anger for those people? What feelings determine our reactions? God’s love and mercy always guides His reactions. He is God and His ways are not like ours.
“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
Praise God for His love and mercy! His ways, thoughts, and emotions are unfathomable to His creatures; they are so much higher than our own emotions. We can get a taste of His feelings when we read His Word. Feel His intense grief over the defiant choices of His children:
“I was sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I was found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’
To a nation that was not called by My name.
I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts;
A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face;
Who sacrifice in gardens,
And burn incense on altars of brick;
Who sit among the graves,
And spend the night in the tombs;
Who eat swine’s flesh,
And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
Who say, ‘Keep to yourself,
Do not come near me,
For I am holier than you!’
These are smoke in My nostrils,
A fire that burns all the day. Isaiah 65:1-5 (NKJV)
Now experience His passionate love as He delights over them:
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:

“ Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:16-17 (NKJV)
God deeply loved Israel. He loves us all with zeal and passion. His crucifixion proves His intense love. He loves us like a parent loves her own child, even more so. Remember His emotions the next time you “mess up.” His heart may grieve, but if you turn back to Him and seek Him with all of your heart, His delight will be ecstatic as He washes you in His grace.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a maiden,
so will your sons marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:1-5 (NIV)
Thank you for your mercy, Father God!

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