The Lover, The Beloved and The Love.
Having time of late with an injured wife, who is quite the reader, is certainly adding value to both our lives, and is truly becoming a personal Romans 8:28 story. We didn’t ask for a broken knee as a teachable moment, but hey!
The title for my entry today comes from author M. Craig Barnes and his book Sacred Thirst, Zondervan, 2001, p.75. The Lover being our Father in Heaven; the Beloved, the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus; and The Love, the Holy Spirit, our companion in life.
Our discussions this morning, layered over with a Joseph Prince devotional, brought stark reminder of Old Testament ceremonies where the sinner brought a first-born lamb to the priest; not as an offering to the priest in return for an examination of the sinner. The sinner brought the lamb as a substitute for himself and his family; it was the lamb that was examined and then sin was forgiven because of the spotless nature of that lamb!
It was the spotless lamb that afforded redemption under the Law. That Law of course was meant only as type or shadow of what was to come, when the Beloved became flesh; The Lamb of God, who would forever be the offering for my sins, first at Calvary and then eternally before the throne of God, who is the Lover! Religious men may interpret this as the necessary appeasement of a consuming God, yet in fact, it was consuming sin that this God was about; this Lover, so intimately described in the Song of Solomon!
“Perfect love casts out all fear”; the ultimate aim of The Lover. We should no longer fear, even when our religion is being challenged by a God who so loves the world, that He might even push back on the things we hold dear. He did this with Israel, and may with our beloved religion of Christianity as He begins to reposition the children of Ishmael for the blessing promised by the God of Israel. Yes, repositioned for a time when they will look upon the Lamb, the Beloved as opposed to the remedy offered in Jihad! Prophesy also promises a reckoning for the self-righteous Israel when they look upon the one with “wounds received in the house of His friends”, their Messiah, the Yahweh of Abraham.
Hopefully, the reader can see the love and the search for truth behind all the statements of this sinner; and for those Christians, who might out of fear, seek a verdict of heresy, I do believe in The Lover, I worship the Beloved and I hold the presence of the Love “shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit.”
I am thankful for faith, and the grace to believe that regardless of my understanding or misunderstanding of God, He loves me and all His creatures. He will provide for us in these difficult times, just as He did when Jesus fed the 5000!
By the way, another insight came this a.m., in my daily times with my wife as we together, nurse her knee back to health. In the miracle of Luke 9, Jesus first had all the folks sit down; he then gave thanks and break bread, providing sufficient food for the hungry multitude before Him. However, He didn’t thank God only for the five loaves and two fishes at this desperate moment, but rather, I believe thanked God for the sufficiency already available for the crowd in front of Him, before the disciples even began to break the bread and divide the few fishes! His faith created the substance, for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!”
I believe in a God who is that transformational, sufficient for our day, for Egypt and for the whole world!