The Love of God: The Key to Scriptures
Having said that, are we not able with this key to unlock the whole of the Scriptures? Is not this the key to the Bible? - for the Bible is one continuous and growing revelation of this central and basic fact, that love is the motive of all things. What was the motive back of the creation, and of man as the very center of the creation? It was love. All the rest of the Bible is an unfolding of God's love for man. Man was made for the heart of God. It is a mystery. The mystery deepens and grows as we go on; but there is always a mystery about love, even among humans. Love is a strange thing. Very often you cannot for the life of you explain why some people love certain other people - why it was that so-and-so fell in love with so-and-so; it defeats every attempt to explain. Well, if that is so in the human realm, the Divine is infinite in its range above the human. To explain in terms of love why God, with all His perfect knowledge, knowing the end from the beginning, set His hand to make man, is not the easiest thing. Indeed, I think we are at the depth of mystery. You follow that through the Bible. As we proceed, we are coming on to that again and again.
God and Abraham - a Heart Relationship
You can only explain and understand the drama of Eden by recognizing that it was a love matter between God and man, and that the enemy's activity from then on to the end was, and ever is, to cheat God of that on which His heart is set, to take from God the object of His love. From that tragedy of the garden, you find God moving again in sovereign love, choosing that which is called "the seed." You see Him fastening mysteriously, inexplicably, upon certain individuals. Let Abraham stand out as a very strong and full example. God fastened upon Abraham, and brought him into a relationship with Himself which was a relationship of love. Mark the progressiveness of God's dealings with Abraham as a representative one in bringing that man right into His very heart. Step by step, stage by stage, Abraham was being brought more to the inward side of the heart of God. I am not going now to trace those steps: they are familiar to you. In His dissatisfaction and disappointment with man, and yet in His hunger to have man all for Himself (which was the first motivating activity of God) God chose this man Abraham, brought him in love to that relationship with Himself, one with His heart in His disappointment over man and in His desire to have man according to His own mind; right through those successive stages to the final step - "Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest --- and offer him" (Genesis 22:2). It was the last step of a spiritual journey where finally, in one magnificent, triumphant step of faith, Abraham went right into the heart of God. "For God so loved ... that He gave His only begotten Son." He became one with God's heart in its passion to have man. That is the essence of John 3:15, 16. So the end of that journey sees Abraham as the friend of God. "Abraham My friend" (Isaiah 41:8). You can have all other kinds of relationship without having that. You can be parents and children; you can be husband and wife; yes, you can be on the basis of any known relationship, and yet not just come to that - "My friend." If a man's son is his friend, or if a son's father is his friend, you have something extra, the climax and he crown of the relationship. And so with every other relationship. Said the Lord Jesus to His disciples, "No longer do I call you servants ... but I have called you friends" (John 15:15). Abraham, the friend of God! Is it not perfectly clear that, in the choosing of this seed, what God was after was a heart relationship? It was a matter of God's heart. The climax of all was not merely some world, some creation, some race of very wonderful people objective to God upon whom He had conferred many wonderful blessings and benefits, that the universe could look in and say, "Well, God thinks a lot of those people, He has done a lot for them." That is all true, but something far more than that is involved. The end which God has in view is a race of friends, the expression of mutual love; God's love begetting love, destroying that evil work when God lost what He was after in the first place - a potential friend. You cannot understand that; He is speaking in human language, to express a Divine mystery; but the Bible is full of it.
God and Israel - Love the Only Explanation
From the individual seed you come to the nation. Again the mystery deepens. Why choose that nation, Israel, the seed of Jacob? But here is the nation chosen. It would take us a long time, but it would be well worth doing, to trace the love of God in the history of that nation. We find ourselves very near to the heart of God when we touch Israel. You think of all the words the Lord used, the titles He employed, concerning that people. He called Israel His child "When Israel was a child then I loved him" (Hosea 11:1). He called Israel His son. "I ... called My son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1). He spoke of Israel as betrothed unto Himself, His wife; His daughter. He spoke of Himself as Israel's mother (Isaiah 49:15). Have you not read the prophecies of Hosea? There, within a very small compass, you have this whole story of God's love for Israel in such terms of strength and passion and longing and yearning and heart-brokenness as cannot be found anywhere else (Hosea 11:1, 4-8).
(continued with # 3)