All forms of love that fail to align with genuine love of God without consideration for personal gain is non-divine. If one works against evil thoughts, words and actions, it is a positive source of personal development of love for service to God, others and self. Fear, obedience and compliance to God’s instruction differentiated Ananias of Damascus Acts 9: 1-20 from the other Ananias, husband of Sapphira.They were both disciples with Peter. In order to sustain the growing needs of rising number of disciples, they all voluntarily and faithfully agreed to sell their assets (properties including land) and bring the full proceeds for group maintenance.
In apparent show of faithfulness to the cause of the disciples, Ananias and Sapphira sold their land and brought only a portion of the proceeds. They thought they were smarter than others. They showed their lack of knowledge of the God they were serving. As God is Almighty, ever-present and all-knowing, He revealed the couple’s deception to Peter. No one ever succeeds in making mockery of God. The couple’s “Day of the Lord ” (judgement) came upon them instantly. They died as Peter confronted them with their deception, even separately. Acts 5: 1-11 This is a lesson to all, especially born-again Christians in view of Revelation 3: 22.
Being our brother’s keeper is the will of God for mankind. Whoever keeps to this injunction is doing His will based on divine love. Man was endowed with ability to reason and capability to differentiate between good and evil or between hate and love. It behoves man to choose preferably the better alternative. Bible recorded the first ever failure to show divine love to ones brother. Cain and Abel were kith and kin. For no fault of Abel, Cain gave an unacceptable offering to God. Consequently, God rebuked him. He therefore hated his brother Abel and out of jealousy he committed the first known murder. The blood of Abel cried up to God and God asked for the whereabout of Cain’s brother Abel. Cain answered brashly showing no love or respect for the life of his blood brother.
Cain became accursed along with generations yet unborn. Cain was the father of the first Enoch. Cain’s lineage continued to Lamech who also was the second murderer recorded in the bible. Lamech’s confessional statement to his wives in Genesis 4:23-24 goes thus: “Adah and Zilla hear my voice; Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech; For I had killed a man for wounding me; If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold; Then Lamech seventy-seven fold” This contrasts with the second Enoch in the genealogy of Seth. In Genesis 5: 24, the bible recorded it thus: “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him”. I dare say, the second Enoch (by Seth) so loved God that he never tasted death as it is the lot of mankind. Has man ever learnt useful lesson from the Word of God? Won’t they?
In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, we learnt about the immeasurable love of father to his son. What makes the love stand out as unique and inimitable is the way the prodigal second son depleted his father’s prosperity while still alive. Rather than investing it for higher returns to his investment, he squandered it all. By the way, only dead person’s property is subject to being inherited. For the father to release part of his wealth is always in the sense of drawing up the will to prevent dying intestate. By implication, the father has limitless resources. On the part of the love the son had for the father, it was just the riches or a non-divine love of the father for who he was.
Let us substitute the “certain man” being the father of the two sons with the Almighty God and see how we have been enjoying His benefits without genuine love for our benefactor. Taking back the lost and found son is God’s act of forgiveness once we show evidence of a broken and contrite heart. In other words, a sinner must show a sense of remorse. However sinful we are, HE (God) is ready to accept us just as we are. Luke 15: 11 – 32.
What the Almighty God has done no power in heaven or on earth can undo it. King Artaxerxes under the impartation of divine love of God did send Nehemiah to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. He backed his authority with fund and ‘visa’ to be able to have free passage through other territories. On arrival there was ready opposition that tried to disturb and get the project un-executable in the persons of Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite as well as Geshem the Arab. Neh. 2 : 1-20 (NKJV). These people were so pissed off that they jeered at and mocked the Jews. They even went to the extent of putting up petition against the Jews with trump up allegation of possible plan to rebel against the King. They further planned to attack the builders who armed themselves in expectation. They never did because the Jews armed themselves spiritually and physically. Neh. Chs 3 & 4 (NKJV)
As it was in the days of Nehemiah, so it is now and would probably continue to be. The good news is: “but those who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”. Daniel 11: 32b (NKJV)
As human as we are with our fullness and emptiness, it is not usual for one to see ones choicest creation or possession being misused, oppressed, abused and disgraced by others not so close to ones heart. The moment ones dearest possession cries out in anguish one must rise up in love to ensure alleviating the regrettable situation or total release from it. Nehemiah in exile and in the court of King Artaxerxes became sad because of the bad news concerning the gloom that beset the walls of Jerusalem, and even the temple. It was at a time when the princes and rulers of Jerusalem and Judah were in exile.
It is pertinent to stress that God’s compassion moved the king to see sorrow in Nehemiah’s countenance. He there and then set out to give Nehemiah the joy and happiness over what he needed most which neither hatred nor jealousy can spoil; Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2. Through Nehemiah’s love and total dependence in God through fervent prayers, King Artaxerxes sponsored the rebuilding of the broken walls of Jerusalem. There is none like God in showering his blessings with love over those who know HIM.
God is love and universal in scope. HE actually loves all whether Jew or gentile. The whole peoples of the world are His. God has no time for checking credentials to ascertain being Jew or Christian or any other religions of the world. In this part of the ongoing series on LOVE, God’s divine love was extended to Naaman, commander of the army of Syria. Syria at the time was enjoying victory over Israel, or seen as ‘enemy combatant’ that was not at peace with the people of God. The king of Syria, through the assurance of the captive girl from Israel sent Naaman to Prophet Elisha who only instructed thus: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.”
Naaman thought Elisha was rude for not considering his status but was persuaded to do what the man of God directed him to do. In the end, he got completely healed. Pride and anger nearly deprived him of God’s divine love which was not up for grab or to the highest bidder. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases but it behoves us to obediently tap into this fountain of God’s compassionate love that transcends color or creed. Naaman realized the greatness of the God of Israel that has no equal in all gods in the world. ll King 5: 1-27
Life of Apostle Paul gave us an insight into how God extends his love to cover even the wicked ones. Paul, as Saul, had one sterling quality of intense dedication to duty. Man sees only the face but God sees the heart or that which is intrinsic and can always tap on man’s hidden resources to edify HIS holy name. In his fervor at rounding up Jesus’ disciples for imprisonment. Paul received High Priest’s mandate to hunt down Jesus’ disciples with their so-called “new doctrine”. It was on his way to Damascus that he met the risen Christ who commissioned him – Saul – (later Paul) and literally enlisted him as soldier in the gospel army. Acts 9: 1-16
Through thick and thin, pain and pang, along with trial and tribulation, his tenacious faith in Christ Jesus saw him through all the fall out arising from his missionary journeys among Jews and gentiles. He expectantly rose to the rank of “five-star general” meaning, he ran the gospel race to win the crown of glory.
A deserter in any national Armed Forces that are justly defending the territorial integrity of his country is anti-Paul the Apostle. A quitter in any tough assignment is apparently a total failure, God has a sacred duty to bless us but it is our duty to use our talent responsibly to his honor and glory. Apostle Paul really did.
In the present age, we often hear people say “an opportunity once lost can never be regained”. It is believed to be for scaring people away from having “a second chance”. As for ardent seekers, Jesus assured his disciples thus: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”. Matthew 19: 26b (NKJV). Steadfast love of the Lord is always available to be appropriated by the seekers when things are going awry. Secondly, the risen Christ yanked Saul out of his wickedness and transformed him into a life-saver for eternity.
Life today is replete with success coming from second chance. Legendary Abraham Lincoln became US President after so many failed attempts at the presidency. In education there are so many remedial programs in place to help those who missed the first chance. Ford Motors after the bail-out is now doing fine. God loves humanity as a matter of course but does not close the window of asking for ones needs, second chance not withstanding. This is a prelude to the event concerning ‘Road to Damascus’.
God’s love is from generation to generation. The trio of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob demonstrated a two-way love cord that connected the three patriarchs to God’s love. It is highly significant in the life of Jacob, later called Israel. He became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. The patriarchs all loved, trusted, worshipped and obeyed God. Even while they, the Israelites were in Egypt for 450 years in bondage, God never forgot his love bond with the lineage of the patriarchs. In his divine love, God saw the afflictions of His people – the Hebrews – and orchestrated their release from bondage. He used Moses, a Hebrew child but brought up as a prince of Egypt in all their arts and culture to effect God’s will. With filial love for the Hebrews he met out instant justice to a wicked Egyptian task-master and became a fugitive in the land of Midian for 40 years.
God commissioned him to go and secure the release of the children of Israel from bondage. In love God took them to the promised land but got rid of the disobedient generation that left Egypt before settling down in the land of Canaan. Armament in war does not ensure victory, rather God’s mysterious hand upon Israel brought down the walls of Jericho – a highly dreaded and fortified city – all because of obedience to the war strategies God gave them. Divine love when sustained conquers fear, defeat and sorrow in the life of man.
The series under non-carnal love is generic or in general term that stands for all non-divine love such as love of money and power to mention a few. It is therefore apt to exemplify the place of ardent and positive seeking something that is of value or as priceless as the promise of the coming Messiah Isaiah 7:14 and 9 : 6-7. The general belief then was that he would be a fighting king who would free them from serving the Roman Emperor.
At the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist saw the sign God told him he would see to identify Jesus, John 1:29-36. John the Baptist’s witnessing coupled with Jewish expectation brought followers that became his disciples as ordained John 1: 37. With physical and spiritual freedom in view, those who met and interacted with him began to invite many more John 1: 41-45. The Psalmist declared in Psalm 34 : 8 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” As of today, there is no genuine or divine love for what is satanic or merely unwholesome. The disciples kept together in divine love even after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.