Thursday, May 20, 2010

"In Pleasant Places"

The Lupin are in bloom here on our mountain and I love them!

Not only are they beautiful but they are unwavering in their determination to bloom at any cost. You can mow them down but a few days later they are up and blooming again.

They remind me of God's love.

I have recently been overwhelmed with a new sense of how deep God's love for us is.
God IS Love and love by definition requires for its completion an object to pour itself out on. Wonder of wonders, you and I are the ones God so loves.
Think of a perfect Father with pure love, unlimited wisdom and unlimited resources and all the time in the world and you have a glimmer of understanding of the power of the love of God.

Man, created in God's image, makes much of love but society in its selfish pursuit of it, has taken a mind attitude of "its all about me" and has come to adopt a standard of entitlement rather than responsibility.
God's love and grace may be 'all about us' but there is a fine line between joyfully basking in the love that God pours out upon us and an inappropriate response.

We cannot bask in God's love outside of obedience to His commandments.
Disobedience is a totally unacceptable response to perfect love.
There should be the the response of the wild abandonment of an open heart desiring to please Him, obey Him , walk in the perfect paths He has laid before us -- paths designed with us in mind -- our well-being, our happiness, our safety and our eternal destiny!

Our human default is to rebel against commandments. We tend to think of God's laws and commandments, especially Old Testament ones, as impossible to follow and restrictive to our freedom ... but take a closer look. God's laws were lovingly laid out with His people in mind - as the rules of any parent are intended to be for the good of their precious child.

In Duet. 30:11-16 God speaks about His commandments to Israel saying,

"It is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascent into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' nor is it beyond the sea that you should say , 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart that you many do it, See? I have set before you today life and good -- death and evil..... that you may live and multiply and the Lord your God will bless you .... "

We have the echo of this verse in the New Testament defining God's laws as doable - in I John 5:3... "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments... and His commandments are not burdensome."

The commandments of God were/are instructions to set up the boundaries that define where people will be safe and HAPPY !

To obey someone - who out of love is deeply concerned for our happiness is easy - what is 'burdensome' is to rebel against that love and wallow in the mire of self-inflicted consequences.

Look at a few examples how easy God's commandments are... yet man, not recognizing the love of God in them, disobeys.

Consider the commandments of God to Adam and Eve -- ONE commandment, "You may eat of all the many trees.. just not this one."
They disobeyed and paid the consequences of their choice.

In the wilderness, God instructed His people to gather the manna every day of the week -except for ONE day! How hard was that to obey ? "I'm giving you a day of rest - a day off!"
They disobeyed and went out to gather Manna anyway - and found nothing.

God said.. "Gather only what you need for each day. Do not save any for the next day." How hard was that to obey? They disobeyed and found the leftovers rotten and sticking and full of worms.

Obeying God's commandments keeps us in the circle of His love and care. It keeps us from wandering under the fence bordering His Kingdom. If our disobedience takes us to the other side of the fence our life will take on the stench and heartbreak and consequences of our sin .

Yet, even then , God's love reaches out to bring us back.
We see in the Old Testament sacrifices for sin, God shows His tender love. He demanded as the 'trespass offering' for sin a lamb or a kid BUT if someone was too poor to bring a lamb he could bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons. Even under the OT law, God wanted to make it easy for people to find His forgiveness.

God miraculously took His people out of Egypt and He showered them with love and tender care . All the years in the wilderness - which were a PUNISHMENT for their sin of not trusting Him to lead them into the land He had promised them... He cared for them "as a Father carries His son" , (Deut. 1:31) Their clothes and their shoes did not wear out. He provided food and water and protected them with a cloud from the heat of day and a pillar of fire for warmth and light in the dark of night.

Neh 9:21 "Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; They lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out And their feet did not swell."

Is this not the same God who watches over His people today ?
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us , that we should be called the children of God!" (I John 3:1)

With what thanksgiving, with what love should we respond to Him? With what desire should we obey Him ?

With what loathing should we turn from the things of this world and all its deceptive enticements?

If we make God our single heart focus, we will rejoice with the Psalmist who said in Psalm 16, that because he has set the Lord always before him .... "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant (delightful) places , Yes.. I have a good inheritance!" He declares that his heart is glad and his glory rejoices; he is at rest! He follows in the paths the Lord shows him, and he lives in the fullness of joy in His presence and experiences the pleasures at His right hand forevermore!

That is where God wants His people to be and He gave His laws and commandments to lead us into His joy!!

What an incredible God that has called us into relationship with Him!

"Oh Lord, your love is beyond comprehension .... may we allow Your love to permeate our very being ... filling us with wonder at who You are... May our thoughts never be far from you, may we ever walk in obedience to the gentle instructions you have given us. May we never be drawn away from Your perfect Word but may we meditate thereon night and day! May we be perfected by your truth and be a vessel pouring out Your love to others. How we love you, Father! Amen"

God brought a timely book across my path as I was considering God's love. It is called “Flight to Heaven” by Dale Black. It is a book that I highly recommend. There is a description of heaven in it that is the best I have ever read.


Kathy said...

God's precious. I again was blessed through your post. love the lupins on your mountain. Kathy

Lovella ♥ said...

I was struck today by God's love for me when I was at a low point. . his kindness upon me amazes me. . one so undeserving but still a child of the most High.

I spent some time in the lupins as well. . for my sunday post. They are quite beautiful. . wild and wonderful.

betty r said...

Tha love of God so rich and pure..I do not thank Him enough for that.
Wish I could meander through that beautiful path of lupins..