Thursday, June 20, 2013

God’s love story


This week’s lectures point out that the great theme of the Bible is a love story. It is the account of God seeking a Bride for Himself, of His efforts to both win her and purify her. In the end, there will be a great marriage feast as this Bride, the church made up of all faithful followers, is presented to Him.

This morning’s assignment called me to read Hosea. It is the account of God asking this prophet to marry an unfaithful prostitute to illustrate what had become of His relationship with His people. In their idolatry, they had lost their first love, but God wanted them to know that He would take them back, even though they had sinned against Him. As I read, I felt the guilt of my own tendency to wander away from God and rely on myself or other things instead of Him.

Then I turned to today’s devotional reading from a sermon by George Whitefield called, “Christ, the best Husband.” This reading asks questions about human desires and points to Jesus as the answer, the lover that can satisfy all that anyone could ever want.

Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. (Psalm 45:10–11)

Whitefield says this psalm is called the song of loves and is about the most pure and spiritual love, that love  between Christ and His people. Those espoused to Christ know and speak with Him, try to promote His interests and advance His name. We ought to deeply adore Him for He is the only lover worth seeking. Whitefield goes on to describe this One who loves me…

He is great, the glory of heaven, admired by angels, dreaded by devils, and adored by saints. I can look up to Him with respect and awe for He alone is worthy of all worship.

He is wealthy, the fullness of the earth belongs to Him, and He freely shares His riches with all those who are united to Him. I will not suffer for He supplies all that I need.

He is wise. No one compares to Him in wisdom. His knowledge is infinite and He knows the hearts and needs of His people. He guides those espoused to Him with that great and unequaled understanding. I can trust Him.

He is powerful. He defends me against all enemies. Any insults against me fall on Him. He takes the blows, but also protects me from myself, from my own foolishness. With Him, I am safe.

He is good. There is none like Christ. Others may have some goodness, but it is imperfect. Christ is sinless. In Him dwells no evil. I need not fear any harm from Him.

He is beautiful, the most lovely person in the world. His beauty is not about appearance, but about character. All those who are beloved have beauty, but this One is most beloved is also most beautiful. I can be His and be delighted with Him.

He loves me. No one can love me like Jesus. He died for me. He lives for me. He thinks about me always, and stays with me through every experience, every situation. No matter how often I neglect Him or forget Him, He never leaves me or forsakes me. His love is proven over and over. Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ, not even my lack of faithfulness as illustrated in the story of Hosea.

The psalm says that the King of glory desires my beauty. What does this mean? In a passage where husbands are told to love their wives, that love is compared to the love of my Lord, and shows what kind of beauty He desires in me.

… love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25–27)

Physical beauty is a fading thing, but there is another kind of beauty in the eyes of God. He loves a gentle, quiet spirit. He loves faithfulness and purity. Those who belong to Him are precious, like jewels. We are His Bride, the sinners that He died for, these He pursued and won for Himself. Not only that, He is in the process of making us as lovely as He is, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. This is His love story.

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