26 March 2014
I wrote once that God uses a lot of symbolism to point us to and explain the truth. In the Old Testament, the repeated animal sacrifices symbolized the final sacrifice that was to come in the form of Jesus.
But two of the most powerful symbolic acts that God showed through his people do in the Old Testament to demonstrate his love for us was in the account of how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son Issac on the mountain (Genesis 22: 1-19). It was a test of faith but more importantly it was showing us the searing pain that God chose to undertake by sacrificing his one and only beloved son, Jesus, for our sake. God stopped Abraham just before he killed Isaac and pointed Abraham instead to the ram stuck in the thickets. God spared us the pain by substituting the pain we would have needed to endure by eventually giving up his own son, Jesus. We can identify with the pain that God endured as he watched Jesus being executed on the cross because we know how impossibly painful it must have been for Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Then there is also the comfort and relief we (Abraham) were to receive when a substitute was found. I find it hard to think of a more painful experience and a bigger relief and comfort.
Then we have the account of how God told Hosea to take back his unfaithful wife Gomer despite the complete unfaithfulness. God showed the depth of his love for us and also the raw state of hurt, pain, anger and rejection he felt when we rebelled against God. Our rebellion against God pierced his heart as an unfaithful wife pierced her husband’s heart. But despite the betrayal, God told Hosea to take back his wife as a sign and symbol of the depth and extent of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Without the contrasting accounts of Abraham and Isaac, and Hosea and Gomer, it is difficult to understand or perceive God’s love, mercy and grace toward us. He used these symbolic accounts to remind us that there is no other love more powerful than his love for us. There is no other person more jealous over us than God, and there is no other person more willing to forgive, shoulder our mistakes and redeem us as his bride, than God himself.
Lord, there is none like you. There is no one else who loves like you do. Thank you for loving me and creating me to be loved by you. May i never hurt your heart and may i never forsake the grace and mercy and love you have shown me.