Summary: God's love is not cheap. It is not easy. God's love has a rich history in the whole of the Bible.
If God had a Facebook page, His Relationship Status with humanity would be: It’s Complicated. That’s because, it’s complicated.
If you think about your walk with God, your relationship with God, you might agree. There are ups. There are downs. There are times when you’ve wondered, should I stay or should I go.
I want us to spend some time today thinking about the love of God. It’s not uncommon that we talk about this a church, whether here on Sundays or at The Feast on Tuesdays.
The love of God is really the dominant or biggest theme that we look at, because it is so important for us to grasp. More than that, God’s Word says that Gove is love.
But there’s a problem. We can talk about the love of God so much that we stop really paying attention. We can talk about the love of God in general terms so much that we can lose the power of the Biblical concept of the love of God.
The love of God can become something that we almost take for granted. It can also be something that is misunderstood. When it’s misunderstood it’s cheapened and distorted: “God loves me so much, He’s ok with my sin”, we can come to think.
In fact, that idea is pretty big in our society, and I hear it expressed in the church. But actually, it demonstrates that if I really think that, I don’t understand the love of God.
So, in order to better understand the love of God, we need to dig deeper into the Word of God. In order to do that, we need to spend some time looking at three things: The Problem, the Promise, and the Fulfillment.
We’re going to look at the book of Isaiah, chapter 1, in order to understand the problem.
Isaiah 1:1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 5 Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. 6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness—only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. 8 Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege.
What we call the Old Testament, the first 2/3 of the Holy Bible, also known as the Hebrew Bible, is really all about the history of God's relationship with this planet.
Understanding history is a little like getting into a time machine and putting ourselves back their so we can better understand what was going on.
It starts with God creating Man and Woman in the garden of Eden. At first God dwelled with them in perfect harmony. It seems that went on for some time. But then after a while, spurred on by Satan, they chose to disobey God.
It wasn’t just a little disobedience. It was really about them trying to become independent of God, trying to be like God, which, if we have any understanding of who God is, is, of course, completely impossible.
But, believing a lie, they broke faith with God. God had given them extraordinary free reign over the garden, and that shows us that God wished to share its beauty with them in a liberal and generous way. God also gave them a limitation - because He is God and can give limitations.
Limitations keep us safe, keep us under authority, keep us humble. So to make a longer story short, communion between God and humanity was broken when Adam and Eve challenged God being God.
They preferred a lie - they could call the shots and be their own boss, over the truth, that God is God and we are not.
Jump forward a whole lot of time, and God has chosen to reveal Himself again to humanity through people he chose as those who would be His people.