Romans 5; 1 Samuel 14; Psalm 59
Marriages among royalty in ancient times were often more political than romantic. Wives were, in essence, political pawns used to cement alliances and keep the peace. Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon had married Amytis from the lush, mountainous land of Media. Iraq, being more desert than anything else was not to the queen’s liking, and she longed for the greenery of her homeland. Nebuchadnezzar, in one of the greatest acts of love in history, commissioned the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to be built to please her. It is known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
It’s amazing what people will do for the people they love and who love them back. Think of some of the greatest examples of love throughout history. The Taj Mahal was a mausoleum built to honor a beloved wife by a grieving monarch. Those are two spectacular examples of love that people showed for the ones they love. I’m sure that if you love, and/or are loved by someone that they have found romantic ways to show that love – hopefully within their income. God loved the people in this world. Sure, they had sinned and fallen away from Him. Yes, they were living in rebellion towards the Law and the plans of God. Still he loved them or should I say us? How much does God love us? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:8-9)
This message is an amazing message about the love of God. God doesn’t love us because we’re good. God doesn’t love us because we cleaned up our act so that we could be presentable before Him. God doesn’t love us because of our good deeds, our charitable acts, or anything else that we can do. God loves us because we are His creation. When we wandered away from God, He loved us enough that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. When we stand before the judgment seat of God, our plea to the charge of being a sinner will be guilty, but forgiven by the blood of Jesus. God will then declare us not guilty. There is no punishment, no wrath for us. We are saved from the wrath of God not be our own actions, but by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
How amazing is that truth! I can’t do anything to make God love me. He already loves me with everything that He is. He showed that when Jesus died on the cross to bring forgiveness to me and to all who trust in Him. What do we need to do to gain forgiveness from God? Nothing. It reminds me of Naaman going to see Elisha because he had leprosy. Naaman was ready to do anything or pay any price to get God’s cure for leprosy. Elisha told him to take a bath in the Jordan River. Naaman was furious! HE came all that way only to be told to take a bath. His servant convinced him to take the bath, he did, and was cured. He expected to have to do some amazing, perhaps arduous, task, but God had a much simpler plan. We think we have to do some great thing to get God to forgive us. We clean up our lives, well mostly. We go to church. We give our tithes and offerings. We do good deeds – even going on mission trips. None of these things can make God love us any more. He showed us the greatest love possible when Jesus died on the cross for us when we were estranged from God. The truth is that no matter what we’ve done, God loves us so much that He is just waiting for us to accept His forgiveness.
Oh Lord, You have loved me far more than I deserve or could ever earn. You love me because I’m one of Your creation.. Let Your love change me so that all will know of Your great mercy.