perfect

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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Imperfectly Perfect

He was a little snot, you may even say an arrogant snot. When we are first introduced to Joseph we see how the greater love he received from his father put him a bad place with his brothers, so much in so that within the first 11 verses there is a progressive hatred from his brothers. If I were Joseph I would not have worn the coat and would have tried anything to please my brothers, and I definitely would not have bragged or shared my dreams with them that I knew would make them salty, let alone be a tattletale.

At the age of 17 we pick up the story of who would become one of the greatest Biblical heroes. However, before we see the transformed life of snotty teenager, we also learn see the work of God in one of his elder brothers, so much in so that he initiated the bloodline of the Messiah, Judah. It is no secret that all the brothers of Joseph hated him, however, two of them, Reuben and Judah, were empathetic, especially toward their father, for it was Reuben who stopped the brothers from killing him and it was Judah who stopped them a second time and suggested they sell him as a slave. Even though he hated his brother, he knew it was wrong to kill him and put Joseph in the place where God needed him to be to elevate him. It is because of this that I believe the Lord chose to usher in His Son through his bloodline. Even in Judah’s imperfections, he came to a place of humility and tried to do what was right, not only with Joseph but with Tamar as well. Back to Joseph.

Just like his brother, Joseph had to be humbled in order to be ready for the calling God had on his life, which took 13 years. From being the favored son to being a slave, accused of sexual assault and jailed, Joseph became a man who trusted the Lord and did well in whatever work he was in while he was in Egypt. His story reminds us that even when we find ourselves in the most unfavorable situations that God orchestrates, we must do them honorably to our best ability, because we do it unto the Lord and there we will find favor with both man and God.

Judah was jealous and hated his brother and had enough drama with his sons’ indiscretions, but it is the tribe of Judah that brought forth Christ. Joseph was a snotty spoiled teenager, but God used him to rule a nation and establish the beginning of a people we know as Jews. They were both imperfect, but God still used them for His glory. This is so pertinent for us, because we all have vices and character flaws that cause others to look over us, but God is famous for taking the imperfect to fulfill His perfect plan. Continue to live and be you for a purpose with your imperfections, and allow God to transform you and take you higher than you ever imagined. Remember this, if only God knows your name, that is all that really matters and it won’t be long before the rest of the world knows your name.

Unwanted

If you ask me, the Bible is full of some of the greatest love stories ever. With that said, I watched a movie recently based on Hosea and Gomer, and I was really intrigued by the dynamics of the story that I had never picked up on before in reading, so I did some further looking into it and was even more captivated by how it so intensely portrayed our relationship with God.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, Hosea was the prophet God had told to marry the adulterous woman Gomer. Now at first, I was always under the assumption that she was a prostitute, but more than likely she was pure before she got married and developed and the heart of a harlot. I find this very interesting. It wasn’t until after she was married that she started to wander and refused to be satisfied by a man that would do anything for her. It was almost like she didn’t want to be loved, didn’t believe she could be loved and cared for so much, and or didn’t feel worthy to receive the love of a such a man. Thus, it’s almost like she did everything to force Hosea to give up on her. Don’t we do that?

GomerThe love of God is so straightforward, yet it goes beyond comprehension, and many times we feel unworthy or less than fearfully and wonderfully made, and we either we act out, becoming afraid and doubtful of its genuineness and test the love of God, or we just don’t want it, because our pride wants us to be able to live the way we want without boundaries, but I think the latter. Like Gomer, even though God pursues us and reminds us daily of His love, as would Hosea, we decide to live a life that takes that precious love for granted and many times we end up in a far worse situation than we should’ve ever been in. Gomer was no different. As a result of her many escapades, she ended up in bondage waiting to be sold to the highest bidder. But no one wanted her. She had damaged herself so bad that she ranked lower than a slave. No one wanted her.

In spite of his heartbreak, pain, frustration, and sadness Gomer caused, Hosea bought her back and promised to always love her. Woah! What kind of love is that?! That’s God’s heart for us, no matter what we do to Him, He will never stop loving us, because His love for is does not depend on us. Even when we stray, His arms are always open, calling us back home. Now does that mean we can go and act like we ain’t got no sense? Of course not, especially when we know better. Hosea even told her she had to stop doing craziness after he bought her back.

When we get to the point where we realize that God will never abandon us or forsake, no matter who we are or what we do, something in us will want to love Him back and want to have that love with us wherever we go in life. As human, by definition, we do not want God’s love, until we meet Jesus, and even then there are kinks in our lives that we strive to straighten out, but he promises to walk with us and be with us through eternity. Matter of fact, the name Gomer means perfect and complete. That is so mind blowing.

When I read that, it clicked that the story of Hosea and Gomer is a reflection of God’s perfect and complete love and salvation (meaning of Hosea). So what’s the point?

Living a life of purpose, you can’t fight God’s love. He is a gentleman so He won’t force you to accept His love or make you love Him in return, but I mean why wouldn’t you? As Gomer did, and as Hosea prophesied to the Israelites, we try everything and everyone else to satisfy us and make us happy, but sooner or later, at some point we come to understand that the Lord was there the whole time and no one else can love you like He can; no one else has your back like He does. He is all that you need to fulfill His awesome purposes in your life. God thinks you are worth every bit of love He has to offer you, and even if every other person has stopped loving you for one reason or another, even if it was your doing, God will never change His mind about you. You can’t make Him stop loving you. So bask in it on purpose, because if you are like me, even when you are being you for a purpose and living in purpose, sometimes His love is all that is holding you together, the only thing stopping you from giving up.