Question: What did God want when He gave us the gift of Jesus? My answer is probably different than you think. Today’s verse is unlike any other and is at the end of the devotional.
Two months ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus – the greatest gift that God could ever give. In two more months we will celebrate His resurrection, which is the most important Christian holy day. Yahweh so loved the world that He gave Jesus, His only Son for us. Through faith in Jesus we are able to be born-again, saved, be born of the Spirit, freed from sin, become children of God, have eternal life, …
The blessings that flow from Yahweh’s love for us are beyond measure. But they stem from His desire for something. Can you think of what that might be? Any number of answers might come close: He wanted to undo the results of the fall; He wanted a people for Himself; He wanted to redeem mankind.
A major clue is in the answer Jesus gives to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” My favorite recording of Jesus being asked this question is Mark 12:28-34. I never cease to be moved by the response of this teacher of the law and then Jesus’ response to him.
Over and over again throughout scripture, Yahweh instructs His people to love Him. He will keep His covenant of love to a thousand generations (Deut 7:9) with those who do love Him and keep His commands. Is there a Old Testament verse that lets us see the impact upon Him of His people from not doing this? The answer is yes.
The verse is in Jeremiah 3 and reveals His heart so uniquely. In this chapter, our God is calling for unfaithful Israel to repent and return to Him. The verse that is so revealing is Jeremiah 3:19 where Yahweh declares,
“I myself said, ‘How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. I thought you would call me Father and not turn away from following me.”
Do we see and feel the pain revealed in that verse??!! He thought they would call Him Father and not turn away from following Him. I know of no other verse where Yahweh so reveals the pain associated with the failure of His people to respond to Him. It’s as though His heart is bleeding on the floor in front of us. More than anything else, God wants a people who love Him, and thankfully He tells us very specifically how to do that! How can we do anything less?