An Epic Love Story
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? – Psalm 8: 3-4
This is the age old question. Why would an all powerful God, infinite in wisdom and glory… already surrounded by His heavenly host and the majesty of His creation, feel the need to create humans? Further, knowing how ungrateful and sinful human beings are, why did He continue bother with us? Why did He preserve Noah and His family rather than just wiping everyone off of the map? What’s this all about?
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. – Jeremiah 31:3
The point that I wish to make herein is that I believe God has revealed something to me in my recent study. It is quite simple yet utterly profound. You’ve surely heard it said that God is Love. This is more true than you know. In fact, the whole reason you are alive right now is because God loves you. Think about that for a moment. God created you to love you. Everything He has ever done has been because He loves you. He made you part of His plan which is THE plan. The meaning of life. The reason we’re here. The entire Bible from Creation to Revelation is a love story.
For you have formed my inward parts: you have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – Psalm 139: 13-14
The Breath of Life
In the book of Genesis, we get a vision of the majesty of God. A creator God. The One who formed all things. He is above and beyond our most vivid imagination. Such a God didn’t need us. But He did want us. There is a distinct difference. To need something is to imply that you cannot live without it. God didn’t need us to survive. He made us because it pleased Him to do so. He literally breathed life into the first man, Adam, “and man became a living soul.” Gen. 2:7 The first man and first woman, Eve, were indeed special. In the cool of day, they not only knew of God, they walked with Him. They had direct fellowship with Him in an intimate and personal way.
It is sin that separated us from our God. When Adam and Eve brought sin into the garden, they became ashamed of themselves and they hid from God. Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever been so ashamed of yourself that you’d rather hide your face from God than confess what it is that you’ve done? Here’s the part that breaks my heart. While Adam and Eve hid.. God came looking for them as any Father would. He called out to them and literally said “Where are you?” Gen. 3:9 The love He had for these first humans just jumps off of the page. When he finds them, he recognizes their shame, and he clothes them to protect their new-found modesty. Because God is Holy and created Eden as a place of Holiness, the Lord had to expel the sinful man and woman from His garden. But while they were cast out of His presence, He did not abandon humanity. Far from it.
Saved by a Flood
Since I cannot possibly visit the entirety of the Bible, let’s fast forward to the great Flood. Many use this worldwide flood as an example of God’s cruelty or lack of Grace. Again, we have a misunderstanding. The flood happened because God so loved humanity, and wished to preserve us! Humankind had become so corrupt that it was literally beyond redemption. In an act of love, God spared humanity from utter destruction by selecting Noah and his family to gather on the Ark, that we might carry on to this day.
The Holy of Holies
“And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8
After God lovingly spared humanity from the destruction of the flood and mercifully delivered His people out of the bondage of the Egyptians, He once again longed to live amongst His people. This was really something of a revelation to me. So in love with His creation was our God, that He commanded a tabernacle to be built where He could dwell in His glory, amongst His people.
Why did He need to be housed? Because the glory of God is so great that mere humans literally cannot not bask in His physical presence and survive. Some say this is because sin cannot coexist with the perfection of God.
“And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Exodus 33:20
Therefore, God made His people build Him a dwelling place where He could be in close proximity to His creation and have more personal access to them as He accepted their offerings and granted them forgiveness. Even though man had rebelled in the Garden and could no longer walk alongside God, He still found a way to be with them, albeit in a veiled manner, because He loved them so much.
God walks with Man again
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
In the beginning, God walked side by side with Adam in the cool of the day. After the exile from the garden, God continued to show Himself to mankind, but not in a strictly physical or intimate sense. For many years, High Priests would bring offerings and sacrifices to the tabernacle as atonement for the sins of the people. But then something really miraculous happened. Something foretold by the prophets. Something wonderful. God sent His son as a man to be with us.
This is a really special point about Jesus. Jesus Christ took the place of the tabernacle, and became the new dwelling place for the spirit of God. As it was in the beginning, God was walking with His people as He always intended.
So why did He have to die? Well, because God so loves us, He wanted to make a way for us to be free from the annual sacrifices in the Holy of Holies. He sent Jesus to die as the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, that we might be forgiven. Knowing that mankind was corrupted by sin, and knowing that sin cannot coexist with the Holiness of God in Heaven, the Lord made a way for all of us to be cleansed of that sin by the blood of Jesus, so that in eternity we could ultimately walk with Him again!
He Sends Another
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s plan to dwell with us was not complete. So great is His love, that Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;” John 14:16. Who is this other? Who is this “comforter”?
We know that Adam and Eve walked with God. We know God dwelt with His people in the Holy of Holies inside the tabernacle. We know that Jesus took the place of the tabernacle. But when Jesus took His place at the right hand of the Father, how would God continue to dwell with us?
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18
The Holy Spirit. The Ruach Hakodesh. The promised comforter. A full person fully equal with the Father and the Son. To say it plainly, the Spirit of God now dwells inside of all those who believe. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1Cor. 3:16 The Spirit moves with non-believers as well – convicting them of sin, tugging on their hearts, urging them to accept the truth that is already written within their very DNA. God is real. God is here. God is LOVE. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we simply cannot find the right words to pray. The Spirit intercedes for us “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26 To have the Holy Spirit in you is the closest anyone can imagine being to God until we’re with Him in eternity.
The Bride and the Bridegroom
How many times have you been asked, or maybe you’ve even asked this yourself, why does God allow evil to exist? I credit a great apologist named Cris Putnam for answering this plainly for me. The answer is that He simply doesn’t. In the end God engages in an epic battle against the rulers of evil and is triumphant.
Meanwhile, believers have been betrothed to Jesus, who has chosen us to be his Bride. This metaphor for Christ and the Church is quite apt. In Biblical times, a bride and bridegroom were separated until the wedding. So Jesus dwells in Heaven while we await His return here on Earth. This betrothal period is designed so that the Bride can prove her faithfulness to her beloved. At the Second Coming, the church will be reunited with her savior… with the Bridegroom… and a wedding ceremony will commence. Our eternal union will be sealed.
From the beginning of our existence until the day when we leave this fallen world, God has been with us and has loved us with a passion we cannot fully comprehend. Even during times when we reject Him or abandon Him, He comes for us, urging us to be with Him. “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Luke 15:4
Even when you hide from Him in shame, He comes looking for you saying “Where are you?”
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
God formed you from the soil of His own creation and breathed His own breath directly into you, giving you life. God has guided His people from all corners of the Earth. Jesus shed His precious blood for you, that you would have a way to be with Him in paradise. The Holy Spirit lives within that we would never feel alone. Christ will come again like a bridegroom to gather His bride to Himself for all time. Truly, there is no greater Love Story than this. Amen.
We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19