God’s Pursuit of Us
FEBRUARY 1, 2023
“For God so loved the wold that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV)
“God is an ageless romancer” were the words of the beloved Bible teacher at an all-female retreat.
Her words took me by surprise and appealed to my heart. I have always been a hopeless romantic — a sucker for rom-coms, Christmas movies on Lifetime, and happily-ever-after endings.
Having grown up in church, I often heard God described as Father, Friend, Way-Maker and Wonderful Counselor, to name a few. These names were easy to accept as true, but “romancer” was a bit difficult to embrace.
I’d reserved the word “romance” for men on white horses who slayed villains and rescued damsels in distress. Romancers were Prince Charmings in tuxedos, with roses in one hand and chocolates in the other. When I imagined a romancer, I didn’t imagine God.
But over the course of the weekend retreat, God began to enlarge my understanding of romance. This word isn’t limited to novels and date nights. This word encompasses God’s tremendous love and His relentless pursuit of humanity. I saw it throughout Scripture.
God pursued Adam and Eve after they sinned in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3)
God pursued Hagar when she ran away from her problems. (Genesis 16)
God pursued Elijah when he ran from Ahab and Jezebel. (1 Kings 18-19)
God pursued Paul on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9)
And God pursues us.
Motivated by unexplainable love, God pursues humanity. No matter our state in life — married, single, dating, living for God or running from Him — God seeks to win the affection of our hearts by relentlessly and faithfully pursuing us.
We see a clear depiction of this pursuit in our key verses, John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
The love John refers to in this scripture is agape love, which is sacrificial and considered the highest form of love that exists. This love was costly for God, but He pursued us through the radical act of sacrificing His Son. God’s love is unmatched and far greater than any box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers.
And even more astounding is that God demonstrated His lavish and sacrificial love while we were sinners. He pursued us while we weren’t thinking about Him. His actions on our behalf overshadow the man on the white horse. Once and for all, God valiantly saved humankind from the spiritual villain Satan when we were in distress.
But God’s pursuit of us did not end with Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. For all our days, He will continue to pursue us with His unexplainable love.
If you long to be romanced and pursued, may this be an encouragement: You are the object of God’s affection. He has relentlessly pursued and will continue to pursue you.
Dear God, thank You for pursuing me. Continue to remind me of Your steadfast love for all my days. Help me to rest in the fact that I am lavishly loved by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In Shadow – Streams in the Desert – February 2
In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft: in his quiver hath he hid me. Isaiah 49:2
“In the shadow.” We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant; our eyes become injured, and unable to discern the delicate shades of colour, or appreciate neutral tints – the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone.
But fear not! It is the shadow of God’s hand. He is leading thee. There are lessons that can be learned only there.
The photograph of His face can only be fixed in the dark chamber. But do not suppose that He has cast thee aside. Thou art still in His quiver; He has not flung thee away as a worthless thing.
He is only keeping thee close till the moment comes when He can send thee most swiftly and surely on some errand in which He will be glorified. Oh, shadowed, solitary ones, remember how closely the quiver is bound to the warrior, within easy reach of the hand, and guarded jealously.
—Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer
In some spheres the shadow condition is the condition of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the shadow of a warm summer night. The sun curls the leaves in the sultry noon light, but they quickly unfold, if a cloud slips over the sky. There is a service in the shadow that is not in the shine. The world of stellar beauty is never seen at its best till the shadows of night slip over the sky. There are beauties that bloom in the shade that will not bloom in the sun. There is much greenery in lands of fog and clouds and shadow. The florist has “evening glories” now, as well as “morning glories.” The “evening glory” will not shine in the noon’s splendour, but comes to its best as the shadows of evening deepen.
Life in earnest
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘He did it with all his heart and prospered.’ 2 Chronicles 31:21
Suggested Further Reading: Joshua 14:6–14
Look around you; who are the most useful men in the Christian church today? The men who do what they undertake for God with all their hearts. Where is the preacher whom God blesses by the conversion of hundreds in a year? Is he a sleepy, prosaic soul? Does he confine himself within narrow limits? Does he speak sleepy words to a slumbering congregation? We know it is not so, but where God is pleased to assemble a congregation it is, whatever it may not be, a proof that there has been earnestness in the preacher. Who are the most successful Sunday school teachers? The most learned? Every superintendent will tell you it is not so. The most talented? The most wealthy? No; they who are the most zealous; the men whose hearts are on fire; those are the men who honour Christ. Who among you today is doing the most for your Master’s kingdom? I will tell you. Lend me a spiritual thermometer by which I may try the heat of your heart, and I will tell you the amount of your success. If your hearts be cold towards God, I am sure you are doing nothing though you may pretend to do it, but if you can say, ‘Lord, my soul is all on flame with an agony of desire to do good to the souls of men,’ then you are doing good, and God is blessing you as he did Hezekiah, who did it with all his heart and prospered. Feeling that very many Christians are not Christians with all their hearts, and that perhaps some of you have only given Jesus Christ a dull, cobwebby corner of your hearts, instead of bidding him sit at the head of the table and reign upon the throne: fearing that we are all in danger of getting into a Laodicean lukewarm state, I wish to stir you up.
For meditation: While we must avoid zeal without knowledge (Romans 10:2), it is not in God’s purposes for us to be satisfied with the possession of knowledge without zeal (Titus 2:14). Do you seek to do with all your might whatever your hand finds to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10)?