Key Verse: He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you LOVE, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” – Genesis 22:2 ESV
In the previous blog, I wrote about Love being the supreme doctrine. The greatest commandment given to us is to Love God, Love people and to Love ourselves. However there is a level of priority that needs to be maintained in our relationship with God, with the people around and with ourselves. We cannot love people more than we love God, (Luke 14:26) nor can we love ourselves more than the people around. We need to count others more significant than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) Luke 14:26 does not mean we have to hate our family and friends to be followers of Jesus. Nor does Matthew 16:24 mean that we shouldn’t love ourselves to follow Jesus. It just means that we need to prioritize our relationships well. Else we will end up as extremists and not be balanced well in our understanding of the word of God. In this blog, we will try to get a glimpse of the heart of God in the kind of love relationship He wants to share with us.
God is Love:
Before starting let me make the theology behind this clear to you. God doesn’t need you to love him in the sense that he is dependant on your love. There is perfect unity, love and fellowship within the trinity. God doesn’t even need the angels!! He exists by Himself. God did not create us because he was feeling bored and did not have anyone to love Him. He created us as an overflow of the love from within the trinity. The bible says we were on His mind even before the foundations of the world were laid! (Ephesians 1:4) It was all as an expression of his love, goodness and greatness.
Love Him Exclusively:
The very first reference to the word love in the entire bible is in Genesis 22:2. God blessed Abraham with a son through Sarah. They named him Isaac. Then God saw Abraham’s heart and knew the depth of his love for his son Isaac. That’s when God decided to test Abraham’s love priorities. Abraham had been walking with God for decades now. Most of us start off well in our relationship with God, we are really passionate and full of zeal. Eventually as he starts blessing us, the same things with which he has blessed us gets more attention than God himself. It could be seemingly as non-harmful as our immediate family, close friends, dream career or even an anointed ministry. Hear me out, There are atleast six references in the bible about God being a jealous God. (for I the LORD your God am a jealous God – Exodus 20:5, 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, 6:15, Joshua 24:19 NLT) Whenever you are tempted to love anything above God, let these verses remind you that HE WILL NOT SHARE HIS GLORY WITH ANOTHER. You don’t want to be in this relationship with Him, He will not force himself on you. But if you want to respond to His love, you would have to exclusively love him above everything else.
We all know well the story of Genesis 22, Abraham passed the test in his expression of exclusive love toward God. But some centuries later another Father sacrificed his only begotten Son whom He loved more than anything else on a mountain peak called Golgotha, (one of the highest peaks on the mountains of Moriah) north of Jerusalem, (called as Salem, in the days of Abraham). In the very same place where Abraham proved his love toward God, God also proved his love toward the entire mankind. God’s letter of love written in blood, with 3 iron nails, on a wooden cross!
Romans 12:1 (NLT) states, “I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” Is it too much to ask if I tell you to love God above everything else, didn’t he also love you with that kind of an exclusive and sacrificial love? We love him because he first loved us! Let me ask you, what is the most precious thing or relationship in your life? If it is not God, may I ask you to willingly lay it down on the altar before God and tell him that nothing can take His place in your life. Let your life be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept!!