Bible

The Israelites: A Special Kind of Love

Over the last two years, the love of God has perplexed and overwhelmed me. I mean, like really. How can anyone love me that much and invest so much in me, and continually welcome me back when I fail and miss the mark time after time? How can someone love me past my pain and my insecurities, past my faults and disloyalty, past my wicked heart and my selfish ways? For real. A love so deep that vows to restore and heal. It’s interesting that the Spanish word for ‘deep’ is profundo, which looks a lot like the English word ‘profound.’ The idea of profound is something that goes beyond one’s normal thinking and understanding. Therefore, God’s love is so profound that it goes beyond our finite comprehension. His love is so unique and so pure that nothing can separate us from His love; it is unconditional, specifically to those of us who surrender our lives to Him. In the Bible we see words like everlasting, eternal, true, perfect, and never failing used to describe His love for His children. How insane is it that I can always count on God to love me and hold His arms out no matter what. Granted that does not give me the right to take that love for granted or assume the Lord won’t show tough love when necessary, hence the Israelites.

Throughout the various studies and readings, especially in the Old Testament, the depth of God’s love is demonstrated by His commitment to the Israelites, His chosen people. Reading through the prophets, the lives of their kings, and even when they first came out of Egypt, the Israelites were trippin. Just in a book like Hosea, one of the tribes were accused of having a spirit of prostitution. What?! Furthermore, good kings were few and far between, for most of the kings of Judah and Israel were terrible and got progressively worse from one to the next, and the people tended to follow the leadership. God on so many occasions threatened them in many ways and claimed that He would turn away from them, and He often made good on His word, and as I read His words in Scripture, I imagine His fed up, rolling His eyes and smh face, so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if He cussed them out on multiple occasions (no He didn’t, let me be clear), because the Israelites put their God through so much crap for centuries. My brother wrote a poem some years ago called, “Thank God I’m not God,” or something similar and that poem is ridiculously accurate just looking at the relationship between Yahweh and the Israelites, because I know for a fact that if I was God, I would have walked away and never looked back.

But that’s why I can’t be God.

Even though the Lord disciplined them, sometimes severely – they were wilin’ – they never had to wonder if God loved them, because He was slow to anger and His anger did not last long, and He always reminded them of who they were and of the covenant He made with their fathers. He was quick to restore and to redeem and desired to bestow His awesome favor upon them when they got their lives together. (There were many good years in between the not so good.)

The more I read, the more I study, the less I understand the love of God. It’s so…indescribable. How can a God that big, love little ole’ me that much? I have nothing to offer Him that He needs or could make His living better or more meaningful; He needs to depend on me for absolutely nothing, but I need Him just to write this blog. He has every reason and right to be distant, short-tempered, and arrogant, but in His flawless character, He chooses to be jealous for my love and chose to give His life in order to prove to me how much He desired me and wanted to have a relationship with me. I am on the verge of tears writing this, because I am just considering how great His love really is and how undeserving of it I am, but His love is mercy and grace, just as it was with the Israelites, for as He chose them to be His people, He chose me before time began to be His daughter, just like He chose you to be His child. He loves you and He loves me because He said He would. Be you for a purpose and bask in the big, strong, special kind of love that will carry you through the fires and deep drowning waters of your life, even if you set the fire or jumped in the pool yourself.

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Fire

FireJeremiah was such a complex person with a lot of emotion, which is why he is known as “The Weeping Prophet.” Still, his story reflects many of ours today. He was called at a young age and when God first called him, he was apprehensive and had excuses as to why he wasn’t able to do what God had purposed for him to do. Many of us are like that. We feel that the task God has for us is too big and we are too small, but that’s the beauty of it. If what He has called you to do doesn’t scare you or keep you on your knees, something is a little off. God, as when He called Jeremiah, wants you to go past your own limits in thinking, strength, and ability and do what takes you out of your comfort zone to prove His power and show His glory.

Jeremiah’s calling was hard and very uncomfortable; he was called to tell the people of Israel about themselves and the doom of the nations. I mean seriously, who wants to go around telling people daunting words from God and not only that but God give you a warning that the people will fight against you and pretty much hate you? Like whoa!

Maybe you feel that way. Maybe what God has chosen you to do and what it will take to do it or get there frightens the mess out of you. Maybe what He purposed you to do, if you know it yet completely takes you way out of your comfort zone. Maybe who He has called you to be is the you that you have hidden or covered to fit in. As God told Jeremiah, don’t be afraid, for you will overcome and He will protect you and rescue and deliver you from whatever you will face. What the Lord has put inside of you is what this world needs to see and or hear, even if they don’t know it or want or accept it. Do what God has purposed you to do. Be who he destined you to be. There is a purpose.

As time goes on, you realize that people are even crazier than what you thought or expected and it’s much harder to complete the task than you could’ve ever envisioned, and as we do, like Jeremiah, we begin to complain and fuss because things aren’t going as smoothly as we like or it’s just getting too much to handle, and you want to give up just like he did and curse the day you were born. At some point he gave up and decided not to fulfill his purpose any longer. It was then that he realized that he couldn’t quit. He couldn’t give up, no matter how much he was hurt, mocked, insulted and reproached, and no matter how much he felt like God had set him up. He had a word; he had a duty that God had given him to do. The moment he stepped out from it, he felt a fire welling up in him that was more intense than what he experienced from other people.

Whatever it is that you have been destined to do, to be, it will get difficult, people will get on your very last nerve seemingly more that ever, people will look at you funny and talk about you, and the Devil will come at you with everything he’s got. But what you have the power to become, why do you think the Devil is trying to stop you? Why do you think God placed you where you are and called you out? They both see something in you and all you have, are, and will face is in either to prepare for greater or hinder you from greater. Know the difference. Either way God has promised to be with you, so like He told Jeremiah, get yourself ready and stand up, for he has already covered you, so no one has power over you or the ability to destroy any part of you unless you allow them to.

Whatever it is that you may be trying to hold in, don’t. It will burn you until you unleash it. So I encourage you, whatever it is that you are called, chosen, destined, and purposed to do, no matter how terrifying or uncomfortable it appears to be or already is, don’t give up. The world desperately needs you, even if they think they don’t. You have Jesus. So yeah, they need you, because they need Him. You work is not in vain, because it will hurt you and them more if you didn’t than if you do. You have been blessed with a burden.

Good Love

One of the things that intrigue me most about God’s Word is how it reads incredibly like a story, with characters and their development, people with feelings and emotions, people who had serious problem and how they dealt with them or the lack thereof. Piggy backing off the blog “Simply Put,” the Bible has plenty of love stories and characters that I feel are remarkable and great examples as we seek to love and be loved. So out of the many, there are 2 women (Abigail (1 Samuel 25) and the Shulamite (Song of Solomon)) and 2 men (Boaz (Ruth 2-4) and Elkinah (1 Samuel 1:1-21) who executed this love thing in an amazing way.

good love

As before, ladies first.

Abigail’s life is very relevant to today’s culture for the fact she was the wife of a drunken jerk. Just read the story. She had to deal with a mean, rude, and prideful man who was usually drunk, so as you can imagine she had to deal with a lot. However, her faith was strong and she took up for her husband even when he was on his worst behavior, as in when he was crude toward King David. The Bible called her intelligent and beautiful, highlighting the inner beauty before the outer beauty. Consequently, when her husband had pretty much signed his death wish by disrespecting the king, she protected his name and took up for him so much in so that David did not destroy him. In actuality, God did it instead. From Abigail, we see her perseverance and faithfulness to her husband and to God, in spite of the unpleasant person he was, and God blessed her in a mighty way. She picked up his slack in more ways than one and her all around beauty radiated. Likewise, good love is when no matter how difficult he may become, hang in there, don’t give up on him, seek the Lord, be an example (1 Peter 3:1-2), and pray for him, and let God do what He needs to do and show you what you need to do if you stay hidden in Him, and He will surely bless you as He surely blessed Abigail if you read the rest of the story.

Then there is the Shumalite woman, the wife of Solomon, and there is a whole book dedicated to the love between them, Songs of Solomon. If you have ever read that book you see that she was very affectionate toward her man, spoke highly of him, and praised him. As a wife or future wife, nagging and complaining should not be a second language, which Proverbs compares to a dripping faucet (27:15). Furthermore, there are several women in Scripture that failed at this and their stories were cut short. For example, Michal, David’s wife, though she had a good start, was not mentioned again after she criticized David’s praise, instead of supporting him, or Job’s wife who instead of encouraging him at the worst of times, she added salt to the wound when she told him to curse God and die and that one verse was the last of her story. Words are so powerful and as a wife or future wife, we should not be so quick to criticize, complain, or fuss, because a man already has enough pressure and things on his plate. Don’t add to it, instead be his reason to smile. Good love. (And I just want to point out this was an interracial couple.)

Gentlemen.

Boaz is one of my favorites. There are so many things about him that I find so captivating and attractive. Even though he was well off and successful, he was kind and treated everyone with respect and dignity, even those that worked for him. In reference to the love of his life, Ruth, in addition to his kindness toward Ruth, he was a man with a plan and did what he had to do to show her he was interested. Gentlemen, if you have a woman in sight, take the initiative to illustrate your desire with class, tact, and finesse if you will. Boaz knew what he wanted and went after it. Furthermore, he was accepting. He didn’t judge Ruth on the superficial things like where she came from or who she came from, he accepted her as she was and made her feel significant and special, and she took notice. Likewise, men, good love is making your lady feel like she is the only woman in the world. A woman feels no more loved than that right there. Additionally, he was generous – a husband should be known as a giver – and a provider, a trait that is often mentioned as the primary role of the husband.

Lastly there is Elkinah, who along with his wife, Hannah, make-up my favorite love story. Long story short, Hannah was without child, but still he showed and spoke of his love for her by giving her a double portion over the wife with kids. Then he asked if he was worth more to her than ten sons, reaffirming their love one for another. In that culture, a statement like that meant so much, because of the value a male brought to the patriarchal family structure, so his love was very real and very evident. In the same way men, speak to your lady and let her know how much she is worth to you and how much you value her and what she means to you, especially in times she feels unpretty or less of a woman, as did Hannah when she was barren. Furthermore, he paid attention to her emotions and showed concern when she was upset (1 Samuel 1:8), he treated her well, loved her, was generous, and made her feel special, similar to Boaz. My favorite part of the story however, is found in chapter 1 verse 19. First off, we see that they worshiped together, which is still important today, to have a spiritual connection; then they came home after a high time in ministry and as someone put it before, they ministered to each other. Good love is being in a relationship and not only having the spiritual, but the emotional and physical intimacy as well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Love is a beautiful thing and if the Lord wills and you have the opportunity to be in a relationship with the person He created just for you, take advantage of it and love with all your might. If God has purposed that in your life, there is a purpose in that relationship that will coincide with the fulfillment of the ultimate purpose for your life and your love’s.

Simply Put…..LOVE

simply putThis piece I contemplated doing for some time now, because I wasn’t exactly sure how I would integrate it in the theme of “purpose,” and on top of that there is so much that I could say. Thus, it was a matter of what should I say and what angle should I take in talking about “love,” I truly enjoy talking about love and relationships. Nonetheless, when you live a purpose-filled life and your intent is to get married or preserve a marriage relationship, there are basic things that need to be considered so that the person God put in your life on purpose to help you fulfill His purpose for your life never has to guess or doubt your love.

So as a disclaimer, this not about general love for other people, but specifically that eros love between you and the person God created just for you. I am not looking to bash either men or women in any sense, or point out red flags, or even give my own preferences, or an advice column of “what ifs,” or tell you that God wants you to get married (God has to show you his purpose in that area), or give a list of things to look for in a mate. Instead, this is just my Biblical translation of the non-negotiables, or basic blueprint, of what your love should look like. Oh! One more thing, I’ll try not to make it too long, and if you think it’s getting lengthy, please hang with me until the end.

Ladies first.

Simply put, Paul said it best, the best way to love a man, or make him feel loved, is to respect him (Ephesians 5:33). Respect means recognizing the fact that he is a man, not a woman, thus, the very way he thinks and lives is completely different, and loving him first and foremost means to appreciate who he is as a man, without trying to change him into a woman. Respect implies that you don’t talk to him like you are or he is crazy or do any thing that would make him feel less of a man. All in all, just let him be the man, be the leader, and respect and honor the position that the Lord put him in, which means you submit, and if you believe that God put you two together, you should be able to trust and be obedient to the leadership of that man. Respect means acknowledging he is not perfect, and never will be, but you still stick with him no matter what (1 Corinthians 7:10),  you stay with him through all the mess that any relationship goes through. He needs to know that no matter who else walks out of his life, even if it is his own mama, you will never leave, no matter how mad or frustrated either of you are. Looking at the definition of respect, the idea is that you hold a person in high esteem, or in high regard, which means treat him with dignity, and frankly in this case, treat him like a king. When you respect the man God has for you as a king, there are things you do to make sure the king is taken care of, so while he is out striving to be the Psalm 112 man, you are to be the Proverbs 31 woman and take care of the home (whatever that means), which should be the most peaceful place and your man’s favorite place to go. Furthermore, that respect includes each part of that man, his visions, his dreams, his personality, his family, and his preferences, so be considerate of what he likes, as well as understanding and considering his feelings. Also, be his helpmeet (Genesis 2:18), that means as a woman do all you can to support him, encourage him, pray for him, help him be the best man God has him to be at home, at work, in relationships, in his visions, with his health, with his gifts, with his talents, his mentality, his emotions, etc. His life should be better because you are in it and he should be proud to show you off, which means what you look like and how you carry yourself should make him look better, even when he isn’t around, as would a queen, and I’ll leave it there. Since he found you, make sure he never has to doubt he found a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). Long story short, when you respect him, you love him the most.

To the gentlemen.

After all that, you may wonder how to make your woman feel most loved, and Paul explained that too: you love her (Ephesians 5:33). It may sound redundant, but love is what any woman desires, especially one that is in committed relationship. What does that love look like? She has to be the number one woman in your life, the only woman in your life, not your mama or your friends (male or female) (Genesis 2:24), and she needs to be assured of that. Likewise, the Bible calls what you found a good thing, so treat her right like a good thing; take care of her like you would a good thing (Proverbs 18:22); protect her like a good thing; be kind to her in word and actions, and esteem her like good thing. In loving her, she needs to know that no matter what you will not leave her and that your commitment to her is true and sincere (1 Corinthians 7:11). As the leader of the house, your responsibility is to give yourself to her and do what you can to make her stronger, better, wiser in her spiritual walk (Ephesians 5:25), and when you love her, you are to appreciate her as a woman, just as Adam would’ve appreciated Eve after so much time had passed before God created her; Adam understood the blessing she was, respected her, dignified her, valued her, and loved her. In the same way, submit to her (Ephesians 5:21), implying that you listen to her, value her opinion and who she is to you, and be considerate of her needs, loving her as much as you love yourself. Above all, loving her means knowing her (1 Peter 3:7), or rather taking interest and learn all you can about the specific woman God gave you. For example, know your queen’s love language (gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, personal touch, or acts of service), know her shoe size, her favorite candy, her pet peeves, her little habits, her clothing sizes, her favorite earrings, her favorite store or brands, her favorite foods, her biggest dreams or desires; know her time of the month, her birthday, what makes her smile, and what makes her cry; know when she wants to be held or be left alone; know her favorite song, her favorite book, her favorite movie, the size of her family and the type of childhood she had, and her favorite hobbies. You get the point, because I can go on and on, and of course all this takes time, but these are the basics. Long story short, to love her, you love her.

Overall, when you are in a relationship, the way to keep things smooth, is remembering it’s not about you, it’s about the other person, and like you blow out your candle in a wedding ceremony, problems start when you decide to relight your candle that you blew out. Now these things mentioned are fairly straightforward for any serious relationship, married or not, except the idea of home. God’s will is not to be living with or having sex with anyone other than your husband or wife, not your boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance, or person you think you will marry. Home and sex are specifically for those that say “I do” (1 Corinthians 7:1; Songs of Solomon 8:4; Genesis 2:24). Still, for those that are, your bodies are no longer your own. Therefore, give you husband or wife what he or she wants, otherwise that’s how the enemy like to creep (1 Corinthians 7:2-6). If you respect him, respect his need and desire for sex, or if you love her, cater to the love her body desires.

Well, if you made it this far, thank you for going all the way and sticking with me on this one. Hope you got something out of it. Now if this applies in any way to you or your current situation, simply put, go and love on purpose.

Crazy Stuff

Recently, the women’s Bible study at my church is focused on “The Bibdavidle” television series, and may I say, I did watch it back in the spring and it was really good. Anyway, today’s lesson was focused on the story of David and Goliath and we watched that particular clip from the series. Now, David and Goliath is one of the most familiar and prominent stories in and out of the church, so it’s not as if I had never heard it before or heard it used in whatever form of analogy, quite the opposite. Still the great thing about Scripture, is that the more you read, the more God reveals to you, and tonight was no different.

As I was watching the clip where David volunteered to fight Goliath and just about everyone, the Israelites included, thought he was out of his mind, but that’s when I begin to think. Whenever God calls us to go up against our Goliath as he begins to orchestrate the purpose He has for us, we should do it with a smile and with great expectation, because the moment God uses something so small to accomplish a task so big, He must be ready to do a miracle.

On the flip side, you may not be the David in a situation, but you do begin to see God just doing crazy stuff that makes no type of sense, things that seem so small and insignificant to carry out the greatest of tasks in the midst of other more logical possibilities, anticipate that God is about to do something more than amazing. When you see him bless 5 stones, as a believer in Yahweh. we should smile understanding that God is about to move in an marvelous, miraculous. and incredible way.

As the people laughed and questioned what David was doing, remember that God enjoys proving Himself, so stay faithful and trust God even if all you have is 5 loaves and 2 fish, and watch Him multiply to feed 15,000, or if all you have is 5 stones, watch God use one to kill your giant and ultimately defeat whatever army is against you.

When you walk in purpose, God will lead you to do some crazy stuff and or will allow you to see Him doing some off the wall things. Don’t fret. God likes to show off. So let Him.