I was worshipping the Lord recently when He showed me a picture. It was of a person – I didn’t know whether it was male or female – curled up, hugging their knees to their chest. They were in a dark place, but there was a strong beam of light shining on the head and back of the person. I was about to teach at the end of the worship time and I believe the Lord was showing me the state of several of the people who were present.
They were hiding away from Him, either because they were ashamed of themselves or frightened to come into His light. I felt that the Lord wanted me to encourage the people, and indeed all of us, to know that there is nothing hidden from Him, but there is nothing too big or terrible that prevents Him from loving us exactly where we are or as we are.
God’s love is so incredible. The Hebrew word ‘chesed’ is usually translated in our English Bibles as loving-kindness, but it means so much more than that. Every word we can think of connected with love: tenderness, gentleness, kindness, mercy and so on, is all wrapped up in that one word, and that is who God is. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He can’t change. Everlasting does mean exactly that: it never stops, ever.
Some people seem to think that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament because He always seems to be so angry with the Israelites, but He only became angry when they walked away from Him to worship other gods. They forget the words in the Old Testament such as the following:
‘Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments’ (Deuteronomy 7:9); ‘When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me’ (Psalm 27:10); and ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me’ (Isaiah 49:15-16). These are just a few verses from hundreds in the Old Testament (NKJV).
Of course, we need to balance God’s love with His holiness and recognise that even the best of us is not good enough. But, in and through Jesus, we can come into God’s holy presence. I was told by a Messianic believer on my recent visit to Israel, that, even today, some Jews will tear their clothing at a funeral of a loved one as a sign of mourning. Well, God tore His ‘clothing’ in the Temple at the death of His precious Son, but it opened the way for us to come close to His heart.
Prayer: Holy God, sometimes I feel so inadequate, dirty and ashamed, totally unworthy of being able to come into Your presence, but thank You for Jesus. Because of Him I can come. You see me in the dark place and You call me out into Your light. Thank You for Your everlasting love for me. Amen.
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