I finished reading through the Old Testament and am now into Matthew in my daily devotions. It would be negligent of me not to mention an age-old truth God has once again revealed to me through His OT prophets.
As I read through the prophets, I am struck over and over again how God is the white-hot, even jealous, Lover who unashamedly and unconditionally pursues you and I, the beloved. It's in Isaiah where He says, "...as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." (Isaiah 62:5). It's in Jeremiah where He proclaims, "...I have loved you with an everlasting love..." (Jeremiah 31:3). Hosea's adulterous wife, Gomer, is redeemed by the command of God to Hosea in a picture of how God pursues us even thought we constantly reject Him. And it goes on and on...God loves, we reject, God relentlessly pursues!
What does He see in us? What does He want from us? Doesn't he understand how vile and corrupt and completely unloveable we really are?
John Eldredge says in his book, "The Sacred Romance",...
"The gospel says that we, who are God's beloved, created a cosmic crisis. It says we, too, were stolen from our True Love and that he launched the greatest campaign in the history of the world to get us back. God created us for intimacy with him. When we turned our back on him he promised to come for us. He sent personal messengers; he used beauty and affliction to recapture our hearts. After all else failed, he conceived the most daring of plans. Under the cover of night he stole into the enemy's camp incognito, the Ancient of Days disguised as a newborn...The whole world lay under the power of the evil one and we were held in the dungeons of darkness. God risked it all to rescue us. Why? What...causes him to act the jealous lover, to lay siege both on the kingdom of darkness and on our own idolatries...not to annihilate, but to win us once again for himself?...what does he want from us?...What he is after is us!"
I stand amazed in the presence of the great love of God for me. I cannot fathom why, but I celebrate that He is the Lover of my soul and, unbelievably, I am am His beloved!
Henri Nouwen says that the gospel in a few words is this: "You are the beloved of God."
Solomon said it this way: "My lover is mine and I am his..." (Song of Songs 2:16)