Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Language of Love

Exodus 19:3b-5 (New International Version)

The Lord called to him from the mountain and said...
"You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."

God speaks here in the language of love, like a devoted father or a lover.

In the same chapter of Exodus we read that God descended to Mount Sinai. The sights and sounds that accompanied his physical presence were terrifying. There was thunder, lightening, a thick cloud, a loud trumpet blast and a violently trembling mountain. Not surprisingly, everyone who witnessed this trembled too.

In Revelation chapter 16, John the apostle describes the vision he saw of the seven bowls of God's wrath being poured out in judgment on the earth. A voice is heard from the throne (verse 17) and is accompanied by "flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake," which caused the cities of the earth, John says, to collapse.

Sometimes we see God in a very one dimensional way, to suit our liking, but if we want to really know him, we must consider all that he has revealed to us of who he is. Moses and John did their best within the limitations of language, to describe the manifestation of God's presence. And yes, to those who steadfastly refuse to recognize him as Lord, he will one day come in all of his terrifying power and judgment; but his longing, his heart, is revealed in the poetic love words at the beginning of Exodus 19. We see one who commands the noble eagles to carry us to him on their strong wings, and who says to us, as he did to Israel, that we are his treasured possession.

We are wanted, we are cherished, and we are loved.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Almighty God, I bow before your awesome majesty. You are the Holy One of unimaginable power and might, yet you love mankind and long for each heart to respond in love for and to you. I pray O Lord that there will be a great awakening, a great harvest of souls, before the coming of the day described in Revelation 16.

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