Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seeing God's heart...

He makes mine melt under the intensity of his love...

It starts in Genesis, after Adam and Eve sinned. You can almost hear God's voice as he called out, "Where are you?" as he walked in the garden in the cool of the day. (Genesis 3:8-9) I can feel his tenderness. He didn't go right to them and kill them, yell at them, hit them, belittle them, shame them. He sought after them while they hid from him. He doesn't leave us in our sin. He pursues us even when we hide from him. MELT....

A few verses later God is cursing the "serpent" (the devil) who tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He tells Satan "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Genesis 3:15) Here is the first foretelling of the coming Messiah who would crush Satan and ultimately save us from his control. He would send us a Savior!!! MELT....

After Adam and Eve sinned they were ashamed of themselves and they tried to cover their nakedness with a few fig leaves. God didn't leave them in their shame. "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21) He symbolically shed the blood of an animal to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness, their sin and shame. A picture of Jesus who would one day shed his blood to pay for our sin once and for all. MELT.... I love this tender God so much!

Later we see God's promise to not destroy us and to save us despite our sinful hearts. After the flood when Noah and his family were leaving the ark God said, "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though EVERY INCLINATION of his heart is evil from childhood." (Genesis 8:21) He knows our every inclination is to sin. He sees our fallen estate and he is merciful. He gives us the rainbow as a sign of his promise! MELT....

The Bible is a story of God's covenant love, his faithfulness to a sinful and rebellious people, but yet we aren't just any people, we are his children. And he loves us. Here are a few more of my favorites:

Hosea is an old testament book about a prophet who is told by God to marry an adulterous woman. He obeys God and marries her and sure enough she is continually unfaithful. God shows us a picture through this story of how we are unfaithful to him and how this grieves his heart. Here is one of my favorite all time verses:

"When Israel was a child, I loved him (MELT) and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. (do you feel his pain?) They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; (MELT) 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. " (MELT)

"Will they not return to Egypt (Egypt had held them in slavery) 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. (Here your going to see judgement from God...will it last?) Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them."

(get ready for a major dose of God's heart)

"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 Zoboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger (they obviously deserved it didn't they?), 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)

Here are a few New Testament favorites:

In John chapter 11 the story is told of Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus and his sickness. He was very sick, close to death and Jesus was told. He was good friend of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He was in another town and chose to stay for another few days. Everyone couldn't believe it because Lazarus was very close to death. Jesus assured them that Lazarus's sickness wouldn't end in death but his sickness was for God's glory. Well, sure enough Lazarus did die before Jesus got there. When he got there, Lazarus had already been in the tomb 4 days. When Mary saw Jesus she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." And here is my favorite part:

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked.

"Come and see, Lord," they replied.

Jesus wept. (Jesus is God. He has the power to heal. He has healed before. He knows the future. He had already said that the sickness wouldn't end in death. He knew what was going to happen. Why did he cry? Why did he weep? He cried because of everyone else's pain. He feels our pain! He cares!!!)

Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.

...in verse 43... When he had said this, Jesus called out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

God loves us. He really does.

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