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Summary: This sermon shows how it has been God’s passion for us to walk in intimacy with Him.

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From the very first page through the very last, the Bible seems to demonstrate one relentless passion… that is, the Father’s passion to see those whom He has created walk in intimacy with Him. In Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord speaks to the people of Israel saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love… and I have drawn you in loving-kindness.” This verse is so beautiful not only because it reveals the depth of the Father’s love toward us but also because it demonstrates God’s passion to draw us into His presence.

Even when the hearts of the Israelites had turned from God, the Lord said, in Isaiah 65:1, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name I said, “here I am, here I am!” The Lord’s unyielding pursuit, to draw His people into an intimate, loving relationship is as true today as it has ever been before. You see, it is and has always been God’s deepest desire that you and I walk in the garden with Him in intimacy just as Adam and Eve had once walked with Him in the Garden of Eden.

[prayer]

In Deuteronomy 33:12, Moses, just prior to his death, blesses Benjamin saying, “Let Benjamin, the beloved of the LORD rest secure in the Lord, for he shields him all day long, and Benjamin, the one the LORD loves, rests between his shoulders.” This is amazing imagery… Moses is telling Benjamin not only that he can rest secure in the Lord and that the Lord is watching over him, but also adds that God has him securely placed on his shoulders. Now dads… how many of you have ever taken your kids to the mall without their insisting that you carry them on your shoulders. It is a place not only of security but also a place of intimacy. And so Benjamin lived his life empowered by the realization of the Father’s love toward him.

David writes in Psalm 103, “The love of God is from everlasting to everlasting” and in chapter 40, David writes, “your thoughts toward us are too numerous to count.” My daughter Sarah is such an adventurer. Particularly when she was younger, I loved to watch her explore her world and watch her as she discovers a new smell or color. How often, when we were all children, when no one was watching, did we make some great discovery… perhaps when you first discovered your fingers or that if you pushed a little bit to one side, you could roll yourself over. You see, your heavenly Father was there, delighting in every discovery you made. The Father was there, with thoughts of love and delight too numerous to count. There simply isn’t a given moment of any given day where the Lord isn’t participating in your life, thinking loving thoughts about you.

It is with this in mind that the Scripture says that the Father has counted the very hairs on our head. We often don’t realize, because this verse is so familiar, the degree to which this demonstrates how intimately the Lord is involved in our lives. We just have no idea of the effect we have on God. David’s son, Solomon, tries to portray this in the Song of Solomon where the bridegroom, who, in this passionate allegory, represents Jesus, says, “you have stolen my heart, you have stolen my heart”.

For many of us, however, this is difficult to accept… that our Christian life is not as much about our seeking an encounter with the Lord but rather, God seeking an encounter with us. That God anxiously looks forward to every authentic moment spent with you. Think of it... Each and every moment in Heaven, the Lord is receiving perfect praise and worship from throngs of angelic worshipers. Yet, when the Lord heard that first note coming from your lips, the Lord, without hesitation, left that beautiful worship of heaven to receive your praise and to interact with you… to be with you. That is what Scripture means when it says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.

You see it is and has always been God’s desire for us to walk in the garden with Him, in intimacy, just the way Adam and Eve once had. And so, in lovingkindness, the Lord draws us to himself. I love to search scripture for those verses where God calls us to himself. Like in Isaiah where the Lord spoke to Israel saying, “come, let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow” or when our Jesus said, “come, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

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