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Heaven: The last chapter of a love story (Page 4)

I’m not much of a romantic (ask my wife!), but I think God is.

We see it right at the start. God created us for intimacy with him (deep fellowship). So he gave us the highest freedom of all, the freedom to reject him. As Sting so rightly sang ‘If you love somebody, set them free.’ And God did precisely that.

Why did he do this? Well, God knew he could not force us to love him (that would not be true love), so like every suitor, he does all in his power to make us love him of our own free will.

 

Ezekiel 16:8, 10-11

” ‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.

I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewellery: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck…

But if you’re writing a romance you must allow for the possibility of a betrayal. That’s precisely what God calls our turning away. Its why God calls himself a jealous God. It’s why, whenever we put other things before him, he uses the strongest possible language.

 

Jeremiah 2:20

“Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’

Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.

God’s heart is broken. He rails with jealous fury on a par with a lover who has been betrayed & rejected.

 

Ezekiel 16:38

I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger.

But this love story does not end in divorce. True love never fails and always perseveres. God fights for his beloved and the Old Testament ends with a promise of reconciliation.

 

Hosea 2:6-7, 14, 16

Therefore, I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.

She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first….

“Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.  “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’

That day came when Jesus arrived & announced himself to be the ‘bridegroom’ (Matt 9:15). He even speaks to us like a bridegroom in John 14:2-3.

I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

In the culture of the day, these are the very words a young man says to his fiancée. Once a suitor secured the hand of his bride, he returned to Father’s house to build an additional room to be their home. When ready, he would come & take her to be with him.

So, we come to present day, and we find ourselves betrothed to bridegroom. We are waiting for his return, and heaven represents the consummation of a love story that has lasted thousands of years. God’s love for us is boundless and irrepressible. And his only desire is that we love him back.

Rev. 22:17-20

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

– Phil.

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