Key Verse: Ps 8:3-4 "When I
consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which
you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man
that you care for him?"
Reflecting over Psalms 8:3-4, we can stand in awe about why God cares so much for us. Why would our Almighty God even love us? What have we done that deserves such a love? The sad reality is that we have done nothing to deserve this genuine friendship. His ultimate love demonstrated through His son Jesus was pursued while we were still God's enemies!
Rom 5:10 "When we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son."
He saw beyond our state what His grace could produce in us.
His passionate desire to draw us near to Him is a theme found throughout the Bible. Let us review a few examples of His pursuit of love for man from God's Word.
A. After Adam and Eve sinned, our Heavenly Father's first words were Gen 3:9 "Where are you?" His first words were not words of condemnation, but of love. You can hear how God longs for Adam's and Eve's relationship. How disappointing it must have been to find out that they were hiding from Him. Sin always produces this horrible consequence of hiding from God! God does not give up on us though. He will continue to pursue us, no matter what, hoping for us to accept His friendship.
B. Gen 5:24 "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."
One of Adam's descendants realized how important it was for God to have a close relationship with His children. I can imagine Enoch asking a multitude of questions to his ancestor Adam concerning when he used to be able to talk with God openly in the Garden of Eden. How painful it must have been for Adam to share his experiences. Adam had suffered an immeasurable loss. Learning from Adam, Enoch started to have power walks with God. He enjoyed those so much, that his daily highlight was to experience God. Eventually his close walk with God resulted in being taken away from this planet, and enjoys continually God's presence in heaven. His faith had been rewarded!
Heb 11:5 "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."
C. Gen 6:9 "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God."
Noah was another man who enjoyed his power walks with God. God's friendship became indispensable to him. God's desire for fellowship was fulfilled and as his friend, God warned him of the upcoming judgment that was going to take the world unaware.
D. Gen 17:1 "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless."
Abraham was another man who realized the importance of having a close relationship with God. God considered him as his close friend! What an honor!
James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend."
E. Rom 9:13 "Jacob I loved."
The Lord pursued Jacob throughout his lifetime, as he does with all of us, even though at first Jacob was not even pursuing God. It's only after he wrestled with God throughout the night, several years later, that Jacob realized how much God loved him. He exclaimed: Gen 32:26 "But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." Once touched by God, it would be hard not to pursue this offered relationship with God.
F. Ex 19:4 "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."
God pursued lovingly the children of Israel. He freed them from their inhumane slavery in Egypt with the sole purpose to have fellowship with them. It is sad that Israel did not respond in same kind to His invitation. Instead they were grumbling and pursued God's blessings rather than His presence. They complained:
Num 16:14 "You haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards."
When God invited the people of Israel to draw near to Him, they refused, Ex 20:21 "The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was." How saddened He must have been!
Moses was one of the only ones who responded to God's invitation and hungered to have fellowship with Him. May we pursue the same ambition Moses had: Ex 33:15 "Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."
G. We could list numerous other individuals with whom God pursued a loving relationship throughout the Old Testament, like Job, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, Isaiah… We could summarize that God said to all of them: Mal 1:2 "I have loved you," says the LORD.
"But you ask, 'How have you loved us?"
How sad that so many people don't even realize how much God loves them! Instead of a loving God, they perceive Him as being distant and judgmental, not realizing He has been pursuing to have a close relationship with them.
Even though they rebelled against Him and pursued their own sin filled interests, His desire to possibly be close to them remained steadfast. Jer 7:13 "While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer."
His pursuit never wavered. Although rejected, He continued to love them.
H. Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
God's love was demonstrated ultimately in His son Jesus. He didn't come on this planet just to save. He came to seek as well! He would have come just for you. He would have considered a privilege to die just for you.
"Why? Why would God love me so much?"
It is impossible to grasp this with our mind, but God's thoughts are constantly focused on each one of us. The Bible declares: Ps 139:17-18 "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you."
Imagine counting all the grains of sand from our planet earth! Imagine all the sand from all the beaches of this world, all the ocean floors, all the deserts, lakes and seas, even the sand from all the sand boxes of this world. It would be an impossible task to count! Compare this to your love towards your spouse. How often have you thought about him or her? When you were first dating, you were constantly thinking of him or her, but now those thoughts have waned a bit. Would all your thoughts possibly fill a Perrier bottle? God's thoughts about you are more numerous than that! Unimaginable love!
To what can we compare His love? We can't!
John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
I know of people who would be willing to die for a loved one, even for a close friend or a good, reputable citizen. However I have never been able to meet someone willing to die for a hard-core criminal. Jesus sure was willing! He died for us while we were His enemies. Listen to His words while hanging on the cross: Luke 23:34 "Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
God values us so much that He purchased us through Jesus Himself: 1 Cor 6:20 "God bought you with a high price." NLT and Eph 1:7 "He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven." NLT
God values nothing more than His own Son. Yet he considers us as valuable as His son, otherwise He would not have let Jesus die for us! His love for you and me is imaginable!
"But does God really care for me? Would Jesus have died just for me?"
Let me answer you with another question: Would you be willing to go out of your way to meet and minister to a man like: Mark 5:2-5 "A man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones."
Jesus sure did! He had to go Mark 5:1 "across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes." His sole purpose was to meet this madman. His ministry with this lunatic was so effective that at the end he was sitting next to Jesus, completely sane of mind. He had been delivered and completely healed! Only after his deliverance, did Jesus Mark 5:21 "again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake."
No other errands were done in the region of the Gerasenes. No others were ministered by Jesus. In fact, the inhabitants of that region were scared of Jesus and Mark 5:17 'began to plead with Jesus to leave their region."
If Jesus would take such a long detour to minister solely to such a man, you can be assured that he would do the same for you! You are that important to God! He pursues you in fact and longs to develop a personal friendship with you. Will you let Him?
Question 1: Give a few examples of how God pursued individuals to have fellowship with them.
Question 2: How has God tried to develop a relationship with you?
Assignment: Mediate over these following words:
Rom 7:23 "Who will free me from
my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus
Christ our Lord. He has set me free." TLB
Take the time to write down some occurrences you remember of how God pursued His love relationship with you. Take the time to thank Him for loving you during each one of these occurrences.
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