My Journey in the Far North

thoughts, inspiration, devotions and recipes from my journey in the far north

for your love for me is very great… August 7, 2010

Filed under: Locking In — tlobner @ 7:53 am

Back in June I focused on Psalm 86:11 and blogged about purity of heart.  For July I found another great nugget to focus on, also in Psalm 86 but this time in verse 13.  But for the sake of understanding this section of Psalm 86, please check out the passage (Psalm 86:11-13):

“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!  Grant me purity of heart that I may honor you.  With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my god.  I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great.  You have rescued me from the depths of death!”

Verse 13: for your love for me is very great.  You have rescued me from the depths of death!

God’s love for us is very great–so great that He rescued us from the depths of death avoiding eternal separation from Him…

I was reading–I haven’t finished it yet– Crazy Love by Francis Chan–which got me thinking about God’s love for us as it is laid out in Psalm 86:13.  God’s love for us is very great…it seems so insignificant in lower case, so how about this…God’s love for us is VERY GREAT! 

It’s true…when you think about His love being VERY GREAT, you wonder what that really means.  It takes a whole new meaning to John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world…”.  It would be better like this “For God SO LOVED THE WORLD…”.  That’s the love that Francis Chan writes about…that’s the love that this verse in Psalm 86 is talking about.

What is this GREAT love?

Check out these verses…read them for yourself as I’ve just paraphrased them.

Lamentations 3:22-25–says that the unfailing love and mercy of the Lord has kept us from complete destruction.

Psalm 78:38–says that God was merciful, forgave sins and didn’t destroy his people.  He held back his anger and didn’t unleash his fury. (Whew! I’m thankful for that.)

Psalm 36:5-7–says that the Lord’s unfailing love is vast as the heavens, faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds, righteous like the mighty mountains and justice like the ocean depths. How precious is His unfailing love for us!(How wide, how high, how long, how deep is His Love for us!–Romans 8:38-40) 

While I was focusing on the GREAT love, some folks at church shared two different stories in the Bible that illustrates God’s GREAT love for us: The Prodigal Son and the story of Hosea.

In Luke 15: 11-32, a few things jumped out at me.  In verse 21, when the son came home and was met with his father running and hugging him, he said that he was not worthy to be called his son.  The father heard, or may be didn’t hear because the text says … “But…”.  You know when you read a “but” in the sentence it could go either way–good or bad–in this case it went good.  It says, “but, his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe…get a ring…and sandals…kill the calf.'”  (Luke 15:22-23)  To be honest, we aren’t worthy either because of our sin but because of His GREAT love for us we are worthy to be His child, we are worthy to be loved by Him and we are worthy of the inheritance He wants to give us.  Just like that son and that father.

I think the one vivid picture for me of GREAT love in this passage is not the giving of the gifts, the preparation of the party or the act of restoring the son back to the family, it is the part in Luke 15:20 where is says the father full of love and compassion, ran, embraced and kissed his son.  That’s the picture of GREAT love.  The son was hanging out with the pigs, he was dirty, he probably smelled a great deal, he was the embodiment of unworthiness, and regardless of all that, his father ran, embraced and kissed the son, showing his GREAT love for him.  I truly believe that’s the GREAT love God has for us.

“For your love for me is very great.  You have rescued me from the depths of death!” (Psalm 86:13)

In Hosea, the story is quite tragic.  God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute and to stick by her no matter what she does.  This was supposed to be an ‘live’ illustration to the people of how they treated God.  In Hosea 11, it tells of the Lord’s love for Israel.  Verses 1-4 tell what God did, verses 5-7 tell of what’s going to happen because the people refuse to follow God, and verses 8-11 show God’s GREAT love for them despite what they’ve done.  In verses 8-11, it says “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel?  How can I let you go? How can I destroy you…?  My heart is torn within me and my compassion overflows? No, I will not punish you as much as my burning anger tells me to…For someday the people will follow the Lord…and I will bring them home again…”.  Can you detect how the Lord feels when we go astray…can you detect His GREAT love?

Wow. Yep.  That’s how I feel…makes me think about how I’m responding to that GREAT love…the Psalms are full of passages thanking and praising Him…but here’s just one.

Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people.  How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.  Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.  His righteousness never fails.  Who can forget the wonders he performs?  How gracious and merciful is our Lord!  He gives food to those who trust him; he always remembers his covenant.  He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations.  All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy.  They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.  He has paid a full ransom for his people.  He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.  What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!  Reverence for the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.  The rewards of wisdom come to all who obey him.  Praise his name forever!

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