At FCA this week Stuart Fuller from Radius Church created a great visual metaphor to depict what God’s love for us looks like.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13
Love is something that we all are searching for in this world. When we think of it we often think of love between a man and a woman, but love is actually the most central thing we are doing as believers and what defines our relationship with Jesus. So what exactly is love?
An essence: to treasure
A manifestation: to sacrifice (for)
An intention: to bless
Stuart used many visual aids to walk us through the story of Yohane and Hadassah. Yohane would meet Hadassah at a well in Canaan once a week for a very long time and eventually proposes. He meets with her family to propose his vows. He had saved a blemishless lamb to try to bribe the family for Hadassah because she had many family duties that she had been upholding for so many years. The father says yes, and Hadassah sips from a cup to accept the proposal. In her culture, the moment you say yes, the betrothal period begins, meaning that Yohane had to leave for one year and not be seen. As a guarantee of his love, he gives her a coin. Meanwhile, Yohane begins to build a home for them. When he returns, he blows a trumpet and Hadassah knows he has come back for her and a week-long festival at the banqueting table begins.
This story is a depiction of love’s constant treasury, sacrifice and blessing thousands of years ago. Many of us try to search for this kind of love, but we may not be projecting ourselves in this manner. We see what we know love does NOT look like, but you’ll never know what love is by running from what it isn’t.
How do we truly know love?
To know love, you have to be loved, and to do this we have to know God.
The story of Yohane and Hadassah parallels the one of God’s love for US.
Our vow to God as a lover can be described by Deuteronomy 6:4-6.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
God’s vows to us are the 10 commandments- what he is inviting us to do. He will always love us if we are loyal to Him, and these are instructions on how we can do this.
2. Accepting the proposal
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying; “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26: 27-28
We must drink from the cup to accept His covenant and promises for us, just like Hadassah drank from a cup to accepts Yohane’s proposal.
3. The price
We were bought with a price, just like Yohane bought Hadassah with the lamb. However, our debt is debt instead of a lamb. Then God sends THE lamb, so that we can be with the greatest love of all: the living God.
4. The seal
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the seal of His love that He gives to us, so that He can prepare a new home (a new heaven and new earth) while we wait. We are his bride, and we are currently in the betrothal period.
5. The return
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.
He will eventually come back for us after the betrothal period is over, and He will have set a massive banqueting table for us: the wedding supper of the Lamb. God wants to sit at the table with us. This is the beginning of consummating our marriage with God.
Stories of love between men and women can provide good metaphors, but ultimately, nothing we have with another man or woman should compare to the love we have with God because love has everything to do with WHO GOD IS. God is love.