God Wants You!
In verses 7 and 8, the Lord says: “For a brief moment I abandoned you… In a surge of anger, I hid my face from you…” What do you think this means? Can you think of any other scriptures where similar language is used? (Read ISAIAH 59:1-2 & MATTHEW 27:46)
These verses describe a separation from God… a separation between the holy (God) and the unholy (sinful mankind). What is it that separates us from God?
In these same verses, the Lord also proclaims:
“But with deep compassion I will bring you back… but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you.”
What do these words communicate to you about the nature of God and how he views and feels about you? Does God intend to give up on you simply because you are a sinner? Does God stop desiring a relationship with you because you are less than perfect? No! God is determined to have a relationship with you! He refuses to let go of you! He will do whatever it takes to bring you back into a relationship with him!
(Read 2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-21)
In verse 9, the Lord proclaims: “This is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth…”
Why does God compare his restoration of his people to the days Noah and his family exited the ark after the flood?
Read GENESIS 8:21. God makes a covenant with Noah, vowing never again to destroy the earth as he has. According to the passage, is it because man has finally learned his lesson and no longer sins against God? No. God establishes the covenant with Noah “even though every inclination of man’s heart is evil…” What does this teach us about the heart of God? What does this reveal about the source of our value in his eyes?
Read ROMANS 5:6-8.
God’s desire for you is not determined by your performance or what you produce. He desires you simply because you are you! You are his! You are made in his image and despite your sins, failures, and shortcomings, he loves you and will do whatever it takes to have a relationship with you; even give up the life of his Son, Jesus.
In the account of Noah we see a living illustration of the story of God’s relationship with man and what it will take to redeem mankind. Sin separates man and leads to death and destruction. Thus, God destroys the earth via the flood. But God’s desire has always been to redeem mankind. So he saves and establishes his covenant with Noah despite the fact man is still inclined to sin. He initiates a covenant, not because man is righteous (Noah’s imperfection is revealed in chapter 9) but simply because he wants the covenant relationship!
This is what we see in our own relationship with God. Sin had separated us from our God and we were on our path to destruction. Then, not because of our righteousness but because of his love, grace, and mercy, God sent Jesus to die for us and someone into our lives to share with us the gospel and teach us how to be a disciple. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the flood because they had faith to build and board the ark, so we were saved through the waters of baptism because we had the faith to repent and make Jesus Lord (1 PETER 3:18-21). Now, even though we still have sin and struggle against the flesh just as Noah did, God has established a covenant with us and has redeemed us. Our part in the covenant is faith (EPHESIANS 2:8-9).
Mountains Shake, GOD DOESN’T!
In Isaiah 55:10, the Lord states through the prophet:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed,
Yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
Nor my covenant of peace be removed.”
We live in “mountain shaking times.” What are some of the challenges and circumstances that are shaking mountains in your life? In our country and our world? How are you tempted to feel? Has it led you to at all wonder is God is still there, still cares, still loves and values you?
But the Lord clearly promises that, though the mountains shake, HE DOES NOT! God’s love, compassion, and peace is unshakable! This reality should produce security to know God loves us and is sovereign, only doing or allowing what is necessary for our overall good and which will ultimately lead to our sanctification and eternal life! This security produces peace, which produces joy and life to the full! Our one responsibility in the process? FAITH!
Read HEBREWS 11:1. The NIV translates the scripture as follows:
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hope points to the future. It is the certainty of some future reality coming to pass that motivates us and carries us on today. For an athlete, they are driven by the hope of being a professional or winning Olympic gold one day. For someone who is willing to risk a broken heart it is the hope of finding love and being happily married one day. For the parent that sacrifices over and over for their children it is the hope of seeing their kids grow up to succeed and be happy one day.
For you, as a disciple, in what have you confidently set your hope? Heaven one day? The resurrection and maturity in Christ one day? Eternal life and seeing Jesus one day? How does this hope motivate your decisions and how you live? How does it affect how you view and address the challenges in your life?
What do you not see, yet remain assured of? God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The resurrection of Jesus? Heaven? Again, if you are assured of these things even though you don’t see them, how should it be impacting your life and how you view your current life circumstances?
Be encouraged that though mountains shake in our lives, God’s love doesn’t!