Love Enters In
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Love Enters In
We have reached our final Sunday of Advent in our anticipation of our Messiah’s birth. On this day we celebrate the love that our Messiah will bring. Love is something that everyone seeks. A child seeks love from their parents, if it is not given then they will often seek love in other ways and from other people and it is often not a healthy kind of love. Sin in our society has twisted love into meaning something purely physical or sensual. Love is now based on how we feel. If it makes us happy then it must be love and when we are not happy then there is no love to be had. It is for this reason that 1in 3 marriages end in divorce today and the statistics look even worse for second or even third marriages. It is also for this reason that many couples feel that they must live together before they have a marriage covenant to see if they really love each other and can build a home together. The statistics are not good for these relationships either. This is all because most in our society today do not understand what love really is and what it really means.
The prophet Micah in chapter 5 speaks a prophesy over Bethlehem, the City of David. From what Micah says it almost makes sense for why it was assumed that the messiah would be one who would come to rule with military power. They are expecting someone to come from the family line of David in the City of David. Micah says, “Out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel.” Out of Bethlehem came David who was ruler of Israel as a king and military leader. Due to the Roman occupation this is what they are seeking. However, Micah says that this ruler will be one “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Who could be more ancient than God himself? This is someone who has been there since the beginning therefore speaking of his Lordship. Micah also says that “Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.” After the prophesy of Micah, it seems that there is this time of silence from God for several hundred years until finally she who is in labor gives birth in Bethlehem. Micah states the kind of savior he will be as one who will shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord his God. His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth and he will be our peace. Micah is speaking of someone who will enter in Love for His creation for he was there at the time of creation.
Our passage in Hebrews this morning gives us another glimpse into the character of God. “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.” When we read the Old Testament, we see that many animal sacrifices were made to the Lord and it seems that the belief had become that the Lord desired these offerings so they would make as many as they could to try to please the Lord. However, Hebrews tells us that He was not pleased with these offerings. This reveals God’s love for all of his creation. God hates death and such sacrifice because it is his beloved creation that must suffer. Life is so precious to God whether it be human or animal life. To God he wished that no life would be taken, that is why he originally designed life to last forever, that is why all of the animals originally ate plants. However, when sin entered the world that all changed and God had to sacrifice an animal to cover the sin of Adam and Eve, his most loved creation. But as sin grew more sacrifices had to be made. This is why God hates sacrifices. It is because of what they represent. It represents that his love, his creation is continuing to sin. Only Satan enjoys the sacrifices of the flesh. It is because of this love for his creation that he came himself into the world to be the final sacrifice. This is true love, even though we may reject him and disobey him, he comes into our world and gives up his own life as a final sacrifice so that no more life needs to be shed for sin.
The love that the world seeks and tries to give is not true love at all. It is lust, desire, and selfishness. It is self-pleasing and self-satisfying. When the self-pleasing and self-satisfying runs out then there seems to be no more need for the relationship and the result is divorce, a broken covenant, and broken families. Love sticks together regardless of what our emotional feelings are. Love is a commitment. God showed his commitment to us by sending His son into the world to love His people and to give of himself entirely.
In Luke 1:46-55 Mary acknowledges this love that God has shown upon her and upon the world. For he has extended his mercy to those who have feared him. He scatters the proud, brings down conceited rulers and humbles the proud. He has filled and provided for those who have been hungry. He is showing his mercy to Abraham and his descendants forever. He is showing true love. Not based upon feelings or emotions or on what we do or do not do. He chooses to love us regardless if we always obey and regardless if we love him back. My having children is the closest thing I have to describe the love of God. My children may not always make me happy and may not obey me every time but that will never change how much I love them. This same love should be in our marriages today but with even greater intensity. If parents want to love their children the greatest thing they can do is to love each other even more regardless if they always make each other feel happy. And even greater than that is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. 2000 years ago, love entered into this world and made the ultimate sacrifice. Some day soon love will enter the world again when his love has reached the ends of the earth and he will come and bring those who have accepted his love into his kingdom. Let us be prepared for when love enters in.