“…Let them that love Him (God) be as the sun when (she) goeth forth in (her) might. And the land had rest forty years.”
King James Version
“Our Eternal Lover”
“Even the heart of God thirsts after love.”
What type of love have I been looking for?
Have I found the love I long for in my life?
Have I given my heart to my Heavenly Father, my source of eternal love?
"The greatest and best thing that can be said of a woman is that she loved God.”
“How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend!
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end!”
Her name is “Baby Ethel.” At least that’s what Jim and I call her. She’s our six-year-old miniature dachshund. I couldn’t have imagined that a little wiggly and barking creature could worm her way into our hearts with such ferocity. But as my husband Jim said the other day, “When I awake each morning, I try to think of more ways to spoil baby Ethel!” And boy is this true!
This past week, as I was regaling one of my friends with another story about how “cute” Ethel is, she made a very interesting statement, for she too, has several dogs she loves deeply. “You know Dorothy, the word dog is ‘God’ spelled backwards. And I sometimes wonder if the unconditional love my dogs give me is a gift from God, as His example of love that comes with no strings attached,” she observed as tears filled her eyes. I must admit, her comment got me to thinking, especially as I read our text for today.
After 20 years of suffering under the hand of tyranny, when God’s children came back to Him, “willingly offering” themselves, He took them right back – no preconditions, no stipulations. Instead, He accepted His children with an open heart and open arms. In the words of John Henry Jowett, “There is no human wreckage, lying in the ooze of the deepest sea of iniquity that God’s deep love cannot reach and redeem.” This is the love God offered to His children in Israel and it is the same, unchanging love He offers to you and me this very day.
But what I love about our heavenly Father is that He not only offered His love, but He put real arms and legs on His love when He awoke Deborah, His willing-hearted daughter, and asked her to be His “personal envoy” to those who needed His guidance and wisdom. Thankfully, Deborah didn’t hesitate for a moment, but under the “Tree of Deborah,” as the Scripture tells us, she provided God’s wisdom to His children, she encouraged and empowered Barak with her inspiring words, and in the end, through the loving obedience of Deborah, Barak and Jael, victory came to Israel as King Jabin and Sisera were destroyed.
What we find happening next is that with victory came a whole-hearted commitment of each one of God’s children to love Him. The result: “The land had peace for forty years.”
Would you like “peace” in your life? Do you want the kind of “peace” the Apostle Paul describes so eloquently to the Christians in Philippi: “And God’s “peace” shall be yours, that tranquil state of soul assured of salvation…that “peace” which transcends all understanding.” Is this the “peace” you want today? We are promised this “peace” when we love God. This isn’t all we’re promised.
Judges 5:31 states that those who love God will, “be like the sun when it rises in its might.” If we look at what the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:31, he said those who get close to God, will mount up like eagles, “close to the sun.”
As I thought about being close to the sun – it hit me! We reflect what we are close to! The heat of the sun makes me warm. It makes me glow. And the love of the “Son,” makes me radiate love!
Just think of the Israelites, for 20 years they rebelled and the Bible says they “did evil” (Judges 4:1). But when they “willingly gave themselves,” when they awoke and arose to God’s call through Deborah, they again began to mount up on wings to God, and their lives reflected the love He poured into them.
And here, in very simple language is the story of Deborah, Barak and Jael. It’s a story about who we choose to love. For who we love will become who we are like and who we reflect to others. As J. Charles Stern so wonderfully penned, “It is God’s love which, all unseen outwardly, supplies our life inwardly.”
I’m praying this is the eternal love I will embrace every day of my life and that as I spend time with my heavenly Father, I will come to reflect the light and radiance of the “Son.” And, as you and I allow ourselves to be changed by God’s love – there will be “peace” in our lives, too.
As if to add a postscript, the Bible says, in Judges 5: 31, the “peace” lasted for 40 years. When I noted that the rebellion of God’s children was for 20 years, I was reminded again of how God gives back to us, as He says through His prophet Joel, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten” (Joel 2: 25, K.J.V.). In the case of Israel, God gave His children twice as many years of peace when they “willingly offered” themselves to Him. And He’ll do the same for you and me.
“God’s love is not drawn out by our loveableness, but wells up, like an artesian spring, from the depths of His nature.”
“When you feel unlovable, unworthy and unclean,
When you think that no one can heal you:
When you think that you are unforgivable for your guilt and shame:
When you think that all is hidden and no one can see within:
And when you have reached the bottom
and you think that no one can hear:
Remember, my dear Friend,
And when you think that no one can love
the real person deep inside of you:
Remember, my dear Friend,
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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