You have heard it said that the scriptures are a love letter from the Father. I find they are much more. Still we stress more the extent we have love for him yet no epistles living can attest fully the heights and depths, the breadth and expanse of the love of God. So today by way of glossing through the most important words ever recorded we will catch a waft of the fragrance of God who is love.
Thanks be to Jesus who was given because God so loved, notice he does not slip in and out as we most often will and do. He is so taken so given that he is Love. John twice underlines this wonderful phrase in the fourth chapter of his first epistle. How did this enter the mind of the disciple whom Jesus loved so fully and truly? And still why does this remain a thing so foreign to the recipients of this letter in his day and more so in ours. Seeing with John the infinite God as being Love should at once change the shallow perception we have of a sensation, emotion or attachment we equate to the fullness that best attributes the ancient of days. Who said:
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:4 (ESV)
The prophets had a wonderful assignment in searching out the revelations of God and presenting them to a people who could not begin to fathom the essence of the divine. Isaiah pitches his truth in the 43rd chapter. Here agreeing with Paul and Habakkuk that no height or depth would keep God from coming to get his own by way of redemption. He was prepared to ransom any people for the ones he created and formed, come sea, rivers or fire the Lord would exchange the lives of Egypt, Cush, Seba all the ends of the earth for his Israel. I assure you today that the Saviour himself was delivered up for those who were precious in his eyes both honored and loved.
Why then do we have issues not believing that God loves us? Scripture provides one reason..
And it shall come to pass, [that] as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Deuteronomy 28:63 (AV)
As capital in the punishments for disobeying the commands and breaking His covenant God who is Love would rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to naught, even removing his peculiar treasure from the land he brought them into. We too often see ourselves as naught, destroyed and plucked from off the sure mercies of the New Covenant in ever falling short. How can he love me? There was ever the tight rope of love and fear, said he would rejoice but still allow wrath to rise up in equal passion against his beloved? The response to this love is only that it takes God! Amen, and all his faith and power to see a saint in Saul of Tarsus, a Man of God in the fugitive Moses who escaped being wanted for murder, to see honor in all the merely human maids, prostitutes, gentiles, swindlers of sons and daughters from whom the Messiah would come. Coming to see that perfect love casts out all fear. Thus most apt was the grasp of this God to whom Moses prays the following:
And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.”
Numbers 14:17-19 (ESV)
As abounding in steadfast love and forgiving, to the extent of visiting the iniquity only in accordance to that love could the visit have ended in forgiveness. For what is man that God should be mindful of him and the son man that he should visit? Surely that must overpower even the hardest skeptic of this nature of God. Zechariah makes stronger this love when he relays the following:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Zechariah 8:2 (ESV)
Surely this is not the jealousy of men, yet that of Almighty God whose name is Jealous. Since itself is inspired by violent love. For our minds the proverbs (6:34-35) teach that no gift could turn away the man betrayed nothing could still the flames by which he would be jealous of his unfaithful bride. The prophets even into the New Testament lauded this expression of fidelity and love divine with excessive emphasis on this relation of the Father with his own. The more certain we can be that whenever as his church we will turn to him and only him will he receive us again in his great power. Hosea shows us a God who will woo his beloved, lead her and speak to her heart, who makes a covenant with all creatures and creation before saying:
And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
Hosea 2:19-20 (ESV)
He is love who calls us forever in steadfast love and mercy, borne about in righteousness and justice, ever longing that we all shall know the Lord. Who Himself cannot contain the extremes of love and jealousy speaking in Zephaniah:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
The man Boaz foreshadows the unrest in the divine as he would not rest until the matter was settled (Ruth 3:18). Boaz does not have to be the strength for the destitute but chooses to, he does not need to grant permission to glean or be merciful either but sees to it. Yet as Ruth only was fit for Boaz, the bride is made fit for her Lord and Husband; who himself is expected to know in the veil more than she does. In the beginning God could not rest until fellowship with his likeness was complete. That day He who was made unto us wisdom delighted in the day God made man, gamboling as a nestling, prepared even then to surround him with songs of deliverance (Ps 32:7). Since the forfeiture of man in upholding the covenant Jesus could not rest until the matter was settled. Jesus was given as a propitiation for all sin because of a love that causes war eternal. A love that dies for souls and fellowship, going even to the end of the earth, depths of the grave or high heavens He will go! Bless the Lord who did in fact go!
Is it possible then that the power unmatched could itself be rendered powerless? The Shunamite is asked by her Lord to, ‘turn away your eyes for they overcome me’ (Ss 6:5). What gaze could come from the very one who would keep us as the apple of his eye (Ps 17:8)? Paul takes up the role of best man for the bride of Jesus understanding the godly jealousy he has and willing earnestly that the same power would render the bride restless until she had brought him to the chamber of her who conceived her, praying that we stir not love until He so please (Ss 4:9). Looking forward to a time that she would know as she is known, no longer beholding as in a glass darkly but unveiled to the wonderful liberty that boasts I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine!
So even now we hear the urgency in the Saviour’s voice before that day, who promises not to eat or drink and have the gladness of heart taken away, (Ss 4:10) in expectation of the feast until he will arise with a banner over you to the ark of his strength into his rest. He remains consumed with a desire to walk in the garden of your heart to park his chariot (Ss 5:2) with you decked in love. To unearth a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, until times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord in whose presence is the fullness of joy. A love that falls on the good and bad. With the flowers in the wilderness that no man will see and the ravens in the air who receive from his hand. Who makes springs to give drink to every beast, satisfying the earth by the fruit of his work. Causing the grass to grow and plants to feed man and livestock; to gladden his heart. The very heart he wills to conquer and abide in, that he may walk in me, pray through me and fellowship with me. Bless the Lord all my soul.
Calling us with him to ascend the mount of the Lord unto his holy hill with hands that drip of myrrh having held the shroud of his suffering to meet him that says I am the way. Truly it is a good thing that the heart be established in grace when his love is set as a seal so strong (Ss 4:13-16). Enraptured in the sweet smelling fragrance of all the apothecaries perfumes the very aura of heaven, there is none like the fairest among 10,000.
They will know today I am his where I mourn with those who mourn in the assurance of a Father who hear our cries as he heard Jesus weep as he prayed and cried. They will know I am his when in response to pleas to Have mercy on me my friends like the Redeemer we will reply I saw you and had pity on you and took you. For whom else will every knee bow and every tounge confess except Jesus. Whose life was the most pleasing, a sacrifice without equal who came looking only to one hour that would show openly God is love. In that place he showed his heart towards us saying:
15 … “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Luke 22:15-20 (ESV)
Give thanks to the Lord for His mercy endures forever.