Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Love Demands Our Best

How long do you think a marriage will last when a husband offers his wife only the leftovers of his day? He gives his energy to his work, his time to his friends, his emotions to his interests and then whatever is left he gives to his wife. To her he is always tired, has no real time for her and shows no interest in what interests her. No one is going to put up with that for long. If we are capable of understanding this about intimate relationships then we should be capable of grasping why Yahweh wants our best, not our leftovers.

We read all the time, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength," but we see the reality of it demonstrated in Abraham. Yahweh was entering into a significant covenant with this man. He had chosen him to start a nation who he would use to reveal himself to his creation, so Yahweh had to make sure that Abraham was the right man. How does Yahweh know? He tests our heart.

Abraham's son Isaac was the promised seed from which Yahweh would grow the promised nation. Everything rested on this lad. How Abraham must have loved this son of the covenant. So to test his heart, Yahweh demanded that Abraham sacrifice him. Knowing Yahweh as we do today, we know that such a thing is an abomination to Yahweh, but Abraham did not know what we know now. So he headed out to do as he was commanded. How heavy his heart must have been and how confused his thoughts.

He got as far as tying his son, placing him on the alter, and pulling the knife on him to end his life before Yahweh put an end to it. So, Abraham was serious about his relationship with Yahweh. His love manifested in his actions; actions of trust. He was willing to obey even to the point of sacrificing what was most precious to him, trusting Yahweh had purpose and reason in this thing. Yahweh said to him:

“Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:12)

We look at that in the context of today and we are shocked but that is because we have watered down the demands of Yahweh. We have tamed our version of the Creator of all things. We are wrong to do so. Look at Jesus' teachings and see the extreme of them. We play the love card with Jesus all the time, portraying him as peaceful, kind and loving. He is all that and more but the love he describes is not a tame love but an all demanding love. Nothing can come ahead of it. Nothing can be considered more precious. In simple terms, Jesus is everything or he is nothing. Yahweh is not willing to have our leftovers; he wants our best; he wants all of our time, all of our energy, all of our affections, all of our intellect.

Maybe we should all re-read our Bibles and highlight all the extreme parts. We may then discover why Paul, the apostle, wrote: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in this body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

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