Good morning. It is Thursday, February 24, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
I wrote about Pastor David Asscherick on Wednesday. He said something yesterday that made me smile. But first, going back about a year ago, Pastor Kip Bradford made the remark that “God is a gentleman.” He will never force Himself on you. A few weeks ago, I had Donna Griffith on my show “Women in the Word”, and she made the comment “God is a gentleman. He will never force you to do something you do not want to do.” And yesterday morning David said, “God is a gentleman.” Wow! I had never heard that expression before and now three people have said it in the past few months.
Have you ever thought about that before? Jesus is a gentleman. He will court you. He will hold the door of salvation wide open for you. He will give you beautiful gifts in nature such as waterfalls and wind in the trees, green meadows dotted with wildflowers, babbling brooks and snow-covered mountains, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. He will show His deep and abiding love for you and will never leave you or forsake you. He will bring you flowers in the spring to remind you that there is always new life. He will ask you to share a meal with Him. He will invite you to be part of His life. He will do this and much more, but He will never force Himself on you. He desires deeply to have a relationship with you. He loves you! However, He will not force you to do anything. God is gentleman. It is your choice.
Have you ever cared for someone, deeply cared, only to have your love and affection rejected? Have you ever hoped to catch the eye of that handsome man or that beautiful woman only to have them turn their back on you? Have you ever been faithful with your love only to be cheated on? God encounters that every minute of every day. He knows that pain, but He keeps on loving anyway.
Are you familiar with the story of Hosea? God told Hosea to marry a prostitute! And Hosea obeyed.
“…the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom…So he went and took Gomer…and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel…She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God…When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Hosea 1:2-8 ESV
Three children by this cheating wife. And if her cheating was not enough, her if reputation was not enough, his children were a constant reminder. Jezreel (which means God will scatter), No Mercy and Not My People.
In Hosea chapter 3, Gomer has left her husband and was basically “sleeping around.” God gives Hosea more instruction: go get her; buy her back.
But why? Why did God ask such a thing from the prophet Hosea? The pain this man must have felt. Perhaps even humiliation. Why? Because it was an example of the broken relationship between God and Israel. God loved His chosen people and yet they remained unfaithful to Him. And yet God continued to show how great is His love; how big is His Grace towards these wayward people. Gomer had been unfaithful to her husband and Hosea bought her back, he redeemed her. God wanted the same for the children of Israel. This story is an incredible picture of God’s love for His people.
If you have never seen the 2012 movie Amazing Love: The Story of Hosea, I would suggest you watch it. It is very good! If you search on-line “Amazing Love with Sean Astin” it should pull up a link and you can watch it for free. It is a little less than 90 minutes but packs a punch.
God’s love is an amazing love!
I came across something I wanted to share with you today. I am a fan of Max Lucado and I have mentioned his book “3:16 The Numbers of Hope.” This is an excerpt from that book:
“For God so loved the world . . .” Love. We’ve all but worn out the word. This morning I used love to describe my feelings toward my wife and toward peanut butter. Far from identical emotions. I’ve never proposed to a jar of peanut butter (though I have let one sit beside me during a television show). Overuse has defused the word, leaving it with the punch of a butterfly wing. Biblical options still retain their starch. Scripture employs an artillery of terms for love, each one calibrated to reach a different target. Consider the one Moses used with his followers: “The Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love” (Deut. 10:15 NLT). This passage warms our hearts. But it shook the Hebrews’ world. They heard this: “The Lord binds [hasaq] himself to his people.” Hasaq speaks of a tethered love, a love attached to something or someone. I’m picturing a mom holding tight the hand of her rambunctious five-year-old as the two of them walk through the market. Her determined grip serves two functions, tugging and claiming. You tug your kid out of trouble and in doing so proclaim, “Yes, he is as wild as a banshee. But he’s mine.” In this case, God chained himself to Israel. Because the people were lovable? No. “God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors” (Deut. 7:7–8 MSG). God loves Israel and the rest of us...because he chooses to.” Max Lucado 3:16 The Numbers of Hope
Yes! He chose to love you. He chooses to love you every second of every day.
Author Brennan Manning once said, “We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.”
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. – John 3:16-18 The Message Bible
Be astonished by the goodness of God. He loves you with an everlasting kind of love.