I was communicating with someone who is wrestling through studying with the Bible this week, and they said that the Bible for them was a book of morality. I told them that it was not as much a book of morality as it is a love story. I was trying to get them to see that it isn’t just a list of things you are supposed to do, and attitudes you should have.
All through the fall I studied Numbers and Deuteronomy in depth, the stories leading up to the conquest of the Promise Land. I saw so much more about God’s love that I had not seen before. Then I started working through the minor prophets chronologically. It seems like the bulk of material in the prophets is a violent depiction of the fate of Israel and Judah. But there also are amazing passages of God’s plan for the future to reconcile man to himself, to put his law in people’s hearts and create a people who will not stray from Him again.
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Deut 7:8
This is one of my favorite passages that mentions how much God desires and values a relationship with man.
Then a few days ago I came across this verse: “They will recognize how broken I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols.” Ez 6:9 God loves us so much that his heart is broken by our waywardness.
All though history, God has fervently wanted a relationship with mankind where he could lavish His love on people, and they will love him foremost. “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deut 10:12
He created Israel as a nation to be his own, but Israel rejected him and went to other “lovers” time and time again.
All along God planned to make a way for mankind to be close to him without the barrier of constant sin between them, and that way was Jesus. And not only did Jesus take away the obstacle of sin, He expressed God’s love through everything he did — in healing, teaching, serving.
I have just started reading “FOLLOW ME” by David Platt. One part I like about the book describes how a disciple views himself as a child of God, and not just as a servant of God. The book depicts a person asking, “‘Why would I, a hopeless sinner, now be called your cherished child? ‘ Only to hear him say, ‘Because I wanted you and I came to get you so that you might know me as Father.'” (My underline)
God came to get us. He took us out of the slimy pit, and he wants to keep us out of the slimy pit.
The Bible does teach morality. But it teaches morality so that we can have an abundant life. All sin is destructive, either to our relationship with God or to ourselves, or to one another. Loving something ahead of God only makes us unhappy, because it wasn’t designed to fulfill. Only God can fulfill our deepest need. I love how Platt describes this: “To come to Jesus, or to believe in Jesus, is to look to him to satisfy your soul forever. To come to Jesus is to taste and see that he is good and to find in him the end of all your desires. To believe in Jesus is to experience an eternal pleasure that far outweighs and outlasts the temporal pleasures of this world.”