DayBreaks for 3/12/19: When the Light Dawns
From the DayBreaks archive, March 2009:
You know how you feel when you re-read a certain passage of Scripture and discover in it a thought that you’d never seen before? That happened to me as I prepared recently for a sermon on God’s love. I’ve been preaching a series on the nature of God – trying to understand and know Him better so that we can rest confidently and with peace in Who He Is and what we are to him. Unless we can rest in assurance that God is every bit as good as His word and unlike people who flip-flop daily, we will never be willing to risk much for a God who is flaky and unreliable. Why should we? He might fail us when we need Him most, or He may decide to change the rules of the “game” of life capriciously and viciously. He is, after all, under no obligation to tell us if He did such a thing. So, if He’s not trustworthy in Who He Is and what He does, we’re in a world of trouble if we risk anything on or for him. When I came to the section on dealing with God’s love, I read 1 John 4:19 again (for probably the hundredth time or more) but saw something new in it this time. You’ve gotta love how the Spirit works!!!
Where does love come from? 1 John 4:19 tells us: We love because He first loved us. Whenever I’d read this verse previously, I automatically assumed that it was taking about us loving God in response because He loved us first – sort of a cause and effect thing like “Every action demands and equal and opposite reaction.” But let me encourage us to look more closely at what this verse says. It doesn’t say that we love God because it’s a response to His love towards us. It simply says, “We love because He first loved us.” Was John perhaps telling us something about from where love springs? Why do we love AT ALL? Because He loved us first – in the beginning – at the very start of our existence. Was John trying to tell us that God put the hunger and our need for love within us along with the very image of God Himself? Maybe you’ve heard the arguments for God’s existence that run along these lines: we have no way to explain the idea of good and evil without there being a Source of good in the universe and a source(s) of evil. But, because there is good – there must be a God. I’ll grant you that it’s not the strongest argument for God’s existence, but it is a valid one, I think.
In a similar vein, I think John was trying to tell us that His love is what awakens love in us at all – otherwise, we’d know nothing of love, period. Love wouldn’t exist at all in the absence of God. The lovesickness that often pervades our hearts is there because we are haunted by the memory of God’s love that was put into our souls when He created us. This love isn’t just mushy sentiment. It is the kind of love the Father to the prodigal son showed when he hitched up his robes, cast aside his own dignity and ran to meet the returning prodigal.
Have you ever considered yourself in the story of the prodigal? Who is it that runs to greet you? Is it not Christ, risen, yet bearing the scars in his hands and feet and on his back from the scourging and his head from the crown of thorns? Is it not this Christ who has hitched up his robes and comes running to meet you while you are yet far away?
I love it when the Light of the Word dawns on us!
Prayer: The mysteries and depth of Your Word is astounding! We rejoice in the truths You show us about the reality of the world in which we live and the truth about the universe You have created! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>