The Father’s Love

 

Kristen Wisen – Soul Care Counselor

Did you know that God waited for 22 chapters in His book before He used the word “love”? I find that interesting. It’s interesting that He didn’t say He loved His creation in Genesis 1 and 2. He never says He loved Adam and Eve. He definitely didn’t love what happened between Cain and Abel, and He didn’t love what was happening at the time of the flood. Noah may have been a good guy, but God didn’t use the word “love” as He described Noah’s faithful obedience. Babel was an obvious frustration to Him. And then we come to Genesis 12. Scripture doesn’t record God telling Abraham how much He loved him when He called him to leave his hometown and travel to the land of Canaan. It also doesn’t say that God loved Sarah so much that He gave her a baby. No, God saved the word “love” for the exact right time to use it.

So cut to the chase - when was the first time God used the word love? Patience, friend.

John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world. He loved His creation, but His creation didn’t return that love. Instead, His image bearers broke the world that He loved and gave their allegiance to another. Then everything fell apart. Adam and Eve left paradise to live in a world that would not produce easily anymore. Cain killed Abel. Man shook his fist at God and we read that when God saw man, He knew that “…every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…” (Genesis 6:5) He destroyed the world with a flood only to have it repopulated with people who again would refuse to obey. So He chose one man through whom He would bring His Savior. This man’s name was Abraham, but even Abraham came with problems. His faith was small and his wife was childless…barren…and old. After 25 years of teaching this man how to walk in faith, God gave Abraham the child of promise: an unimaginable fulfillment made possible by the God of the impossible.  

Then God did the unthinkable again. He demanded that Abraham offer that child as a sacrifice.  And here’s what He said: “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Genesis 22:2

And there we have it.  

Love.  

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Your son, your only son, whom you love. This is where the reader squints his eyes, rereads the verse and takes pause. This child was not only the miracle baby of Sarah’s old age, but he was the future father of the line that would bring the Messiah. How can God want him dead? And how can God possibly ask a father to kill his own son? It’s understandable if the child was a psychotic, evil serial killer but that wasn’t the case here. He was just a child. A child who was prayed for. A child who took forever to arrive. A child who was greatly loved. Now, we remember why we’re looking at this verse. The first mention of love is not God towards His creation, nor is it a husband’s love for his wife, nor a mother’s love for her child. It’s in the context of a father’s love for his son. I find that fascinating. 

It’s fascinating because two thousand years later there would be another Father who be in a similar situation, but this time, He would go through with it. In the manger we see an unimaginable fulfillment made possible by the God of the impossible. A child born of a virgin. God become flesh. 

That God would put on flesh and limit Himself in order to live a perfect life, which would qualify Him to take the punishment His enemy deserves, is hardly a Hollywood storyline. But this provision lying in the manger would perfectly fulfill the law and then take on our sin, and His Father would have no choice but to put Him to death.

On the cross we see the unimaginable fulfillment made possible by the God of the impossible. 

God would take His Son, His only Son, whom He loved, and pour out His wrath and judgment on Him. God would turn away from His Son, because God cannot be in the presence of sin, and for the first time in all eternity, be separated from Him. God recorded the impossible position Abraham was in to give us a glimpse of the impossible position He was going to put Himself in.  Jesus’ death was not void of the Father’s suffering.  God loved His Son perfectly, but on the cross, He accepted His Son’s offering and took His life as a sacrifice because of another love.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

But remember, He is the God of the impossible. He opened the womb of an 89-year-old woman. 

He limited His Son’s limitlessness and fashioned Him a body. He willingly poured out every last ounce of wrath and judgment on His Son so that His great love could be extended to you and me. And three days later, He brought Jesus back to life, and in a seemingly impossible turn of events, the gates of heaven were thrown open wide and complete access was restored between God and man through the blood of Jesus Christ:

An unimaginable fulfillment made possible by the God of the impossible.

As we make our way towards the celebration of Jesus’ birth, let us keep in mind the heart of the Father who loved His Son dearly, and gave Him to us because of His great love for us.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10