Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, August 20, 2022
Shabbat Shalom,

Growing in Love for God 30 by David Harwood

He commands us to love Him and then He wins our hearts… Or is it the other way around? It was certainly the other way around with Israel. First He rescued them from slavery. Then, a grateful nation was commanded:

Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 TLV)

I reiterate: first He wins our hearts. God earned Israel’s love, and for those with eyes to see, He has earned ours, too.

Sometimes he woos us through revelations of our prophetic destinies. Jeremiah 29 is an example of this.

I will visit you, and fulfill My good word toward you—to bring you back to this place. 11For I know the plans that I have in mind for you,” declares Adonai, “plans for shalom and not calamity—to give you a future and a hope.

12“Then you will call on Me, and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

13You will seek Me and find Me, when you will search for Me with all your heart. 14Then I will be found by you,” says Adonai, “and I will return you from exile (Jeremiah 29:10b–14a TLV)

This word was given to a crushed, hopeless people. They were in exile. God revealed through His prophets that their circumstances were their own fault. Had God forsaken them? No! God was still after their hearts, beckoning them to seek Him with all their heart. If they returned to a faith-filled loving reliance, God would respond favorably: He would restore.

They were helpless, weak, at the mercy of cruel conquerors. How could God ever restore them? We know they believed that God’s plans, His thoughts, His strategies, His patience and power, were more than adequate. All God would need is one really good idea, but He overflows in kind intentions and plans. It’s almost like He manufactured the desert’s sands to illustrate how many good thoughts He has towards those who love Him.

17How precious are Your thoughts, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand! When I awake, I am still with You. (Psalm 139:17–18 TLV)

Apart from promise, aside from poetic illustrations, He demonstrated His love for us. We can look back to the crucifixion of His Son to consider the way He loves and values us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us(Romans 5:8 TLV)

Why demonstrate His love toward us? He did this because He sought to prove to us His great love for us to stir us to reciprocate. The foremost command is still the Great Command. God searched for a way to win our hearts and came up with Calvary.

We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19 TLV)

I love the way He wins our hearts. The Messiah’s crucifixion overcomes my heart’s objections to the proclamation of God’s goodness

If God was an evil, tyrannical, all powerful person who demanded that I acted lovingly towards Him I would seek to cravenly comply. But(!), I don’t think I could actually love Him from the heart. Could you?

However He has revealed Himself through Creation, Israel’s election, and the Incarnation. Love motivated His war against wicked malevolencies and His victory was manifest in Yeshua’s atoning death and the overthrow of Death. Because of who He is, revealed in what He has done, I do love Him.

The Great Command reveals that my estimation of Him is important to Him. And so is yours. Why? Because:

He created you to be the type of creation whose love for Him is meaningful to Him.

We enter into fellowship with God as He continually reveals Himself to us. We can draw near through faith and inquire:

Yeshua, what do You love about our Father?

Father, what do You love about Your Son?

We can draw near through faith and request:

Living God, show me the goodness of Your Ruach ha-Kodesh.

As you seek Him, God will make the Scriptures come alive to you. God will show you things intuitively by the Ruach that are in line with the Bible.

Friends, this is a relational love! His love for us is important to us. Our  love for Him is a treasure He seeks. In His estimation, our love was worth the warfare He waged at Calvary.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 20-Aug-2022   23rd of Av, 5782 Parashat Eikev
De 11:22-25 Isa 49:14-51:3 Jas 5:7-11