Advent 2019: Day 8 – God Loves Us Beginning to End

This week we are focusing on love.  What better way to start the week than to focus on how God’s love has been there from the very beginning and will last beyond the end.  Our very creation speaks to God’s love.  He made us in his image and he made us a garden in which to commune with him.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

 

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

 

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

 

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 

Genesis 1:26-31 NIV

 

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

 

Genesis 2:8 NIV

 

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day

 

Genesis 3:8 NIV

 

The Bible doesn’t tell us whyGod made humanity, but it tells us a lot about howhe made it.  He made humanity lovingly. God made Adam and Eve and the Bible indicates they were very good.  He gave humanity his image.  Many scholars debate over what this means exactly, but if you make something in your own image, whatever that may mean, you love it.

Not only are we made in God’s likeness, he made everything forhumanity.  He made a garden with all sorts of delightful things to eat, beautiful things to look at, sparkling water to drink, and companions to love.  Then he dwelled in the garden with them.  You spend time with the people you love.

Although we don’t know why God made humanity, we can tell from scripture that his intent was to have community with them.  Why else would he walk in the garden with them?  He could’ve stayed in heaven and just observed.  He didn’t.  He chose to dwell with them.

This continues. Throughout the Old Testament, we see God coming down to be with the people in clouds of smoke and pillars of fire.  He would inhabit the Holy of Holiesand the Ark of the Covenant.  He eventually sent Jesus, who was God on earth.  Literally, 100% human and 100% God.  Jesus spent his time on earth healing people, helping people, changing the way people treated each other, and teaching them about God. He loved humanity so much that he suffered horrifically on the cross and then defeated death.

Before Jesus suffered torture, beatings, slander, and death, he prayed for believers.  He prayed for his disciples and future believers.  He knew what was before him.  He even asked the Father if there was any other way. Yet, when he knew there was no other way, he prayed for believers.  They were his mission.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

 

…  “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

 

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

 

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 

John 17:1, 13-36 NIV (emphasis mine)

 

While he was on the cross, dying, he asked God to forgive those that were abusing him.

 

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

 

Luke 23:34 NIV

 

 

If we accept Jesus’ love, believe in him, and follow him, we can never be separated from God’s love.

 

neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesusour Lord.

 

Romans 8:39 NIV

 

And that love goes for all eternity.  Just as God created humanity to be with him, he will end time with humanity by his side for eternity.

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

John 3:16-17 NIV

 

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

 

Philippians 3:20-21 NIV

 

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

Revelation 21:1-5 NIV (emphasis mine)


PRAYER

Almighty,

It is amazing how you crafted us out of love and continued to love us despite our sin.  How wonderful are your ways!  You always find a way to be a part of our lives and commune with us; whether through miraculous signs, through Jesus, or through the Holy Spirit.  I look forward to the day when we can be together forever, the way it was supposed to be in the beginning.

Help me this week to be open to your teaching.  Help me to show love to others and to deeply understand the love between you and me. Help me to deepen my love for you and to feel the depths of love you have for me.  Never let me forget it.

Amen.


EXTRAS

  1. Spend some time thinking about the ways God has shown his love to you; both in the Bible and in your life.
  2. Thank him for the love he has given you.

 


TRADITIONAL ADVENT READINGS FOR DAY 8

Psalms 148-150

Psalms 114-115

Amos 6:1-14

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

Luke 1:57-68

 

 

 


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Posts for Advent 2019

Advent 2019: Day 24 – Jesus’ Birth

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth! What better way to observe Christmas than to read the account from the Bible.

Advent 2019: Day 22 – Peace

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