Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, August 22, 2020

Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

God’s Love 

By David Harwood

God’s love for us is such that He appreciates, enjoys, and actively reciprocates our love.

Classical theology tends to view God as “the unmoved mover”. The generally held perspective is that God is not affected by anything outside Himself. This is not the Biblical record of God’s inner life. What the Scriptures teach is that God’s love for us is such that He appreciates, enjoys, and actively reciprocates our love.

Let’s look at the first-priority command, again.  And (Yeshua) said to him, “ ‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37) 

The Creator is calling for our emotional involvement. Why? Is it because our love for Him is meaningless to Him?  The Lord is not playing games.

If God didn’t truly love our sincere love why would He command us to love Him? Some might answer, “Because it’s good for us.” Yes, loving the source of life is good for us, but is this command only for our benefit?

So much of the Bible contains the easily traced theme of God’s marital relationship with Israel and then, with the Messiah’s relationship to His transnational community. Here is a beautiful passage that reveals God’s anticipation over Israel’s restoration to Himself. It is a pattern that can be applied to all who know the Lord.

No longer will you be termed “Forsaken”, no longer your land termed “Desolate”. Instead you will be called, “My Delight is in Her” and your land, “Married”. For Adonai delights in you, and your land will be married. 5For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you. As a bridegroom rejoices over a bride, so your God will rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:4–5) 

God rejoices over His people.  Many years before Isaiah wrote, it was recognized that God’s people’s expressed love makes Him happy. 

Psalm 149:1 Halleluyah! Sing to Adonai a new song, His praise in the assembly of the kedoshim. 2 Let Israel rejoice in its Maker. Let the children of Zion be glad in their King. 3 Let them praise His Name with dancing. Let them sing praises to Him with tambourine and harp. 4 For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. He crowns the humble with salvation.

Note verse 4 again:  For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. He crowns the humble with salvation. (Psalm 149:4) 

In the Apostolic writings we are encouraged to draw near to God. Here are two verses from Hebrews that illustrate this. Notice, they encourage our initiation.

So let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and body washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22) 

Therefore let us draw near to the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) 

Make no mistake, God is The Initiator. However, part of what He initiated is a cosmos in which we get to, within limits, initiate. Sometimes God wants to react to us, and not just act upon us. He wants to be sought by us and not just seek for us. In fact, James wrote that God reciprocates.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8a) 

The company of people who draw near to God will find that the LORD responds. That He is among them. The Messiah said:

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20) 

Look at Zephaniah’s description of His attitude and activity amongst those with whom He is in fellowship. 

Zephaniah 3:17 Adonai your God is in your midst— a mighty Savior! He will delight over you with joy. He will quiet you with His love. He will dance for joy over you with singing.’

Let it be confidently said that the Lord loves the love of His people.  Let’s draw near to God.