February 2014- “Real Love”

Valentine’s Day is coming!
We can see it in the grocery store aisles…miles of chocolates in heart-shaped boxes…
The flower shops are getting ready for oceans of roses to deliver…
All to attempt to express those 3 important words: “I love you!”

We can all imagine pretty well what romantic love is like, but how does God really view love?

There’s an account in the Bible of a love that really is out of this world. It’s the story of what happened between a father, his only son, and God. If you know about Abraham and his son Isaac, take another look at the kind of love God was asking this dad to show.

The very first book of the Bible opens our eyes to the kind of love that God wants from us. Look with me at the book of Genesis, chapter 22, verses 1-2.

1 After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”

Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah when they were very advanced in years. Isaac was really a miracle baby! In those days, of course, there were no fertility specialists, just hanging on prayer for God to bring forth the miracle of a baby. Just when the impossible seemed beyond their reach, God enabled Abraham and Sarah to have Isaac! So when we reach this chapter in their lives, we cannot imagine God “testing” Abraham and Sarah and asking for their son- their only son. The story ends with God providing another offering, a ram. Yet the ram does not appear until God sees Abraham literally walk through the steps to sacrifice his only son out of his love for God and commitment to obey God’s leading, whatever the direction.

Why would God test anyone in this way?
The point is that God is complete love.
In fact, God is the author of love.
So why this horrifying scene of being led to sacrifice one’s child?
To demonstrate,
To teach,
To instill in us,
The requirement that we love nothing or no one more than God.
And we can do this because everything good we have is from God.
And as seen in Abraham & Sarah’s story, God’s goodness is complete and unending.
They receive a son and they keep their son.

All we have to do is look at how God the Father gave His only Son Jesus, as a sacrifice for us, so that after Jesus died and rose from the grave, He could come into our hearts when we ask and fill us with love…godly love. We are to love God and others because of this great gift of Jesus Christ within us in the way that Jesus Himself explained in Matthew 22:37-38:

37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”