Advent 2019: Day 9 – How Does God Show His Love?

As we are focusing on God’s love this week, it is important to know how God shows his love.  God shows his love throughout the Bible in many different ways.  God shows his love to us when he delivers us.

Let’s look at the Hebrews’ situation (Israelites before they created Israel) in Egypt.  Many of God’s people moved to Egypt after Joseph saved everyone from famine.  Over time, as Joseph was forgotten, the Egyptians enslaved the Hebrews.  They had been in slavery a long time.  Moses was a Hebrew but the Pharaoh’s daughter had adopted him.  Therefore, he had been raised as a prince.  He was the man that God chose to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptians.

Now God got Moses’ attention by being a burning bush that was not getting burnt up.  Quite a sight!  Once God established who he was, he told Moses this:

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

 

Exodus 3:7-10 NIV

 

In this paragraph, you can see how God loves his people.  He is a God who watches his people: he sawtheir misery and the way they were oppressed.   He is a God who hears his people: the cries of his people reached him.  He didn’t just listen and watch, he also acted.  It is one thing for someone to listen and to watch, but you really know someone’s love by how they act.   And God was acting, through Moses.

We further know that God listened and watched because when Moses, with his brother Aaron, told the people what God had told them, this was their response:

And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

 

Exodus 4:31 NIV

 

The people knew that their God was concerned about them and they worshipped him.  In the midst of their suffering and hardships, they knew their God was concerned.  He was showing them his love.

God did deliver his people, just like he promised.  He delivered them from slavery through ten miracles.  Then he delivered them from Pharaoh’s army by splitting the sea.  He further led his people by appearing to them as a cloud of smoke and a pillar by fire.  Their journey to the Promised Land is full of God showing his power.  I encourage you to read it.  God loved his people so much that he forced a pagan king to let them go, then upended the laws of nature to destroy the army that was chasing them, he made sure they had enough to eat by having food fall from the sky, he gave them water in the desert, and the list goes on.  God didn’t have to do these things.  He did it because he loves his people and cares about and for them.

The Old Testament is full of examples of God delivering his people.  They had a way of consistently being in bad situations.  Yet God, out of his love and mercy, delivered them from their circumstance.

God also shows his love through discipline.  Much like a parent must discipline a child in order to keep them safe and to build their character, God does the same to us.  He disciplines us in order to build a righteous character.

 

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

 

Revelation 3:19 ESV

 

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

 

Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV

 

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

Hebrews 12:11 ESV

 

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 

Romans 5:2-5 ESV

 

Although discipline is often painful, it yields a character of righteousness.  It also trains us to be righteous.  Without the training, we cannot be righteous.  So God shows his love to us through his discipline in our lives.

God also shows his love by caring about our everyday needs.  There are many instances of Jesus healing people and meeting their physical needs.

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

 

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

 

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

 

Mark 7:31-37 NIV

 

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

 

His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

 

“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

 

“Seven,” they replied.

 

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand were present.

 

Mark 8:1-7 NIV

 

Jesus cared enough to make sure that people did not got home hungry after listening to him teach.  He cared enough to heal a deaf and mute man. Your needs matter to him.  They did then, and they do now.

God also cares about who we are, not our societal positions.  He loves us no matter what our social status is and he wants to attend to our spiritual needs.  You see, it’s not about what you can give God.  It is about what God can do for you.  And he wantsto do it for you.

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

 

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

 

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

Mark 2:13-17 NIV

 

Jesus wants to deal with the spiritual side too.  He wants you to repent and come to him so you can spend an eternity with him.  It doesn’t matter who you are.  He wants ALL people to come to him. Tomorrow we will see how much God loves us through his son.

God has never been an unloving God.  He is a God of love.  He is actively engaged in the lives of believers.  He listens, watches, heals, provides for their needs, disciplines, delivers, and saves.


PRAYER

Lord,

Thank you for showing me your love throughout the Bible.  Thank you for caring about me specifically; my needs, my spirit, my frustrations, … all of it.  Thank you for caring enough to take action.

Help me to understand your love even during the times of discipline and during the times of intense trial.  These are not fun times God and I often lose sight of your love for me.  Please continually remind me of your love so that I do not turn bitter toward you.

Help me to show others the love you have shown me.  Help me to care about their needs, both physical and spiritual.  Help me to be bold in my efforts to show your love.

 

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen


EXTRAS

  1. How has God shown you love?
  2. Has God ever disciplined you? What was the result?
  3. Has God ever delivered you? Take some time to thank and praise him.

 


TRADITIONAL ADVENT READINGS FOR DAY 9

Psalm 25

Psalms 9, 15

Amos 7:1-9

Revelation 1:1-8

Matthew 22:23-33

 


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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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