NO GREATER LOVE . . . .”  18.02.19

Rabbi Greg Hershberg, “No Greater Love (Part 4),” Feb.3, 2018, http://Getzel.org   https://youtu.be/5QC_HW9GOSQ

During wilderness, desert, and/or storm experiences, those who have not walked closely with the Father, will not likely experience His Presence. Even those who know the Father, will often waiver in their faith, and wonder where He is, why He is allowing this horrid experience. Whether they hear His voice or not, He is still present; it is usually the individual who is not present to His Presence, and thus misses His voice, and His PEACE. The Father sees what is happening and commandeers and steers events to make things come out for the best, even when His Presence is not recognized, for “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom.8:28). No greater love is available to us than this, the love of the Father.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). Even those who do not know Him inadvertently benefit: “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt.5:45), a picture of God’s justice, mercy and grace.

Patience, mercy, and grace: we can observe this throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. When Adam and Eve broke their relationship of trust with the Father, He still made provision for them: “Adonai Elohim made Adam and his wife tunics of skin and He clothed them” (Gen.3:21). The animal skins, as Rabbi Greg Hershberg points out, were a picture of the garments of salvation: “I will rejoice greatly in Adonai. My soul will be joyful in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me in a robe of righteousness—” (Isa.61:10). “God still provided what His Holiness required  . . . His love provided what His Holiness demanded” (Rabbi Greg Hershberg, Feb.3,2018).

Neh.9:17-21

17 “But You are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Therefore You did not abandon them,

18 even when they made a cast image of a calf for themselves and said, ‘This is your god who brought you up from Egypt!’ or when they committed great blasphemies.

19 “Yet in Your great compassion You did not abandon them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud by day did not depart from above them, guiding them in the way, nor the pillar of fire by night, illuminating the way they should go.

20 You also gave Your good Ruach to teach them. You did not withhold Your manna from their mouth and You gave them water for their thirst.

21 For forty years You sustained them in the desert: they lacked nothing, their garments did not wear out and their feet did not swell.”

No greater love than this could have kept the Israelites alive and seen them through this wilderness experience.

God has always made provision for His creation. Nowhere in Scripture is this more evident than in Psalm 104:

10You make springs gush into the valleys.

They run between the mountains.

11 They give drink to all the beasts of the field—

the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 Beside them the birds of the sky dwell—

they sing among the branches.

13 He waters mountains from His upper rooms.

The earth is full of the fruit of Your labors.

14 He causes grass to spring up for the cattle,

and vegetation for man to cultivate,

   to bring forth bread out of the earth,

15 wine that makes man’s heart glad,

   oil to make his face shine,

   and bread that sustains man’s heart.

16 The trees of Adonai are satisfied,

the cedars of Lebanon that He planted,

17 where birds make their nests,

and the stork—her home is the fir trees.

18 The high mountains are for wild goats,

the cliffs a refuge for rock badgers.

(Ps.104:10-18).

From the mountains, valleys and the grass, to the wild beasts, birds and cattle – all those things which the secular world refers to as “Mother Nature” come under God’s jurisdiction – the Father makes provision.

Even when God’s people turn their back on Him, He doesn’t give up on them. Instead, He attempts, pleads, and beseeches them to return to Him: “Yet even now”—it is a declaration of Adonai—“turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and lamenting. . . .  turn to Adonai, your God.

For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abundant in mercy . . .” (Joel 2:12,13).

All He wants is for them to repent and turn away from their false gods and carnal ways: “for my people have committed two evils:

they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer.2:13). In spite of this charge, His Father Heart longs and yearns for their return: ”Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God, when he led you in the way?” (Jer.2:17); “Your wickedness will chasten you, and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; the fear of me is not in you, says the Lord God of hosts” (Jer.2:19). “Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?” (Jer.2:21). “Then I will betroth you to Me forever—yes, I will betroth you to Me with righteousness,  justice, covenant loyalty and compassion. I will betroth you to Me with faithfulness, and you will know Adonai. . . .  ‘You are My people!’ and they will say, ‘My God!’” (Hos.2:21,22,25). After all of this apostasy and rebellion, all the Father wants is for them to come home. . . . .

Just like the father of the prodigal son, God welcomes the rebellious, lustful, wandering child who turns from his wicked ways and returns to Him: “his father saw him and felt compassion. He ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Lk.15:20). A forgiving heart, a heart of compassion, this is the love of the Father.  The Father sent His Son to die for a fallen humanity; is there any greater love than this? Would any individual be willing to sacrifice one of their children to save another? Yeshua said: “No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is the type of sacrificial love the Father has towards us, that even though “the world did not know Him. . . .  His own did not receive Him. But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. . . .  And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:10-14). God Almighty Himself condescended to tabernacle among humans that humanity could be redeemed. No greater love than this exists in the earth, or the heavens or under the earth. . .. . not anywhere, at any time. As Paul prays so should we all pray that we would grasp “what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Messiah which surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled up with all the fullness of God” (Eph.3”18,19).

© 2018, revised 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

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