Monday, March 14, 2011

God's Fierce Love

Maybe the word fierce has recently been associated with Tyra Banks and Beyonce, but for me it has come to describe one aspect of God's love for us. I've been studying Isaiah (with Bible Study Fellowship), so you may see me increasingly referring to it here. This book of the Bible is chock full of details about God's relationship with the Israelites, which I think gives us all insights into how we interact with God.

The intensitiy and protectiveness of God for His people has struck me repeatedly as I've read various chapters in Isaiah. Not only does God tell them they shouldn't fear because He will be with them, and that He will strengthen them and help them (41:10), He says

Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. (41:11)

I can only compare this fierce love to the love a parent has for a child, where if the child were attacked the parent would not just passively try to get her back but would respond with fervor, doing everything possible to retrieve that child. God is saying that if someone treats His people poorly, that person (or entity) will have to deal with Him and be punished accordingly.

The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against his enemies. (42:13)

Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. (43:4)

Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth And lick the dust of your feet: And you will know that I am the LORD; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame...I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (49:23, 25b-26)

I confess: That last one shocked me a little. For those who think we worship a namby-pamby God, they couldn't be more wrong. This is a God Who would stop at nothing to redeem His people. He stopped at nothing to redeem the Gentiles, too -- He sent His Son to provide a way for us all to be redeemed.

I am encouraged that the God who loved the Israelites so fiercely loves me the same way. Another part that stood out to me was "Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame." It's like God is saying that hope in Him is guaranteed to be worthwhile. There are so many other things we can put our hope in, but when we put our hope in God we are 100% guaranteed not to be disappointed because He alone has the power to fulfill all His promises. It strengthens my soul to know that He is worthy of my hope.