Followers

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The LOVE of God


The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell; it goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell. The wand’ring child is reconciled by God’s beloved Son. The aching soul again made whole, and priceless pardon won.”[1]

 


A few weeks ago, we sang The Love of God in worship, and it stuck with me. Kim Knowles led worship that Sunday and as always, the Holy Spirit flowed through her and she effortlessly ushered us into the presence of God. Thanks, Kim! 💗

 

Since I’ve been singing this song all month, I did some research. The lyrics are beautiful, especially the refrain: “O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.”[2] (Are you singing yet??)

 

Verse two seems to speak about the times in which we live—human thrones, kingdoms falling, and people refusing to pray. But confirms God’s love is sure, it shall endure, and His grace will resound. Glory to God!

 

Nevertheless, it was verse three that really caught my attention. “Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole tho stretched from sky to sky.”[3]

 

What great word pictures and what truth. John 21:25 says, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”

 

But can you write of God’s love for us without understanding who He is? I don’t think you can. So, I was shocked to learn that “lines similar to verse 3 are found in the Qur’an (18:109 and 31:27) and Akdamut, an 11th-century Jewish poem. Frederick Lehman, the song’s author, said the English rendition included in his song had reportedly “been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave.”[4]

 

Reading all this, I was reminded of a radio interview I heard last week. “The one thing Muslims need to know is the love of God. There is no LOVE in the Qur’an—Allah.” But if verse three is similar to the Qur’an and the song says “the love of God,” doesn’t that contradict the interviewee’s statement?

 

Back to the internet. Surah Al-Kahf – Qur’an, Chapter 18, Verse 109: Arabic and English Translation: “Say: ‘If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.’ (Translation by Yusuf Ali)” Well, no LOVE there.

 

What about the Akdamut?  This poem, written by Meir ben Yitzchak Nehorai in the 11th century, has been incorporated into Jewish liturgy. Aviva Sterman explains, “the Jews make G-d their chativa, object of loverecite the Shema twice a day…study the Torah constantly, and since by doing so they follow the Divine will, G-d accepts their prayer.”[5]

 

The closest the Akdamut comes to the love of God is saying, “the Jews are chaviv, dearer, to G-d than the angels because they praise G-d regularly.”[6]

 

Neither Islam nor Judaism understands our One True and Living God. Sadly, some Christian denominations believe Muslims worship the same God we do, but they don’t. Our God IS love.[7] Allah is a counterfeit. And Jews completely misunderstand when the Lord says in Jeremiah, “I have loved you with an EVERLASTING LOVE.”[8] Why? Because they don’t have God’s complete Word. They refuse to see that “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”[9]

 

And my heart breaks.

 

The only reason we love God is because He first loved us.[10]


Do you know the love of God?

 



[1] Hymn:  The Love of God (vs. 1) by Frederick M. Lehman, 1917, https://hymnary.org

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[6] ibid

[7] I John 4:8

[8] Jeremiah 31:3

[9] Romans 5:8

[10] I John 4:19

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