Gospel

He Leaves The Ninety-Nine (Luke 15:7)

I found this old video on my phone from the summer of 2018 that made me smile as I watched it and thought about God’s love in this particular season of my family’s life.

We couldn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it, yet “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The way God loves us is so radical that we lack the capacity to fully grasp it, comprehend it, or describe it in words.

If you’re familiar with the Parable of the Lost Sheep from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, you’ll recall that Jesus tells the story of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep in order to go after the 1 single, lost sheep.

Now to us, it seems completely backwards and foolish to leave the 99 for the 1. But at the culmination of the story in Luke 15:7 Jesus explains, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine [who believe they are] righteous and do not need to repent.”

Our human rationale may tell us that leaving the 99 for 1 is “reckless”. Likewise, the fact that God gave His one and only sinless, perfect Son in exchange for the sins of mankind, is also difficult to comprehend. But the beauty and mystery of it all is that a love that seems so irrational to us, is perfectly designed by a sovereign God who is always in control, and by His very nature is immutable and anything but reckless.

While our imperfect words often fail to describe a perfect God, may our hearts cry out in worship as we recognize the overwhelming, never-ending, “reckless” love of God.

Note: I’m personally a huge stickler for words and song lyrics, and the writers of this song used the word “reckless” as a metaphor to describe, in human terms, the way God’s love and resulting actions appear to the rest of creation. They’re on record saying that they know and absolutely believe that God Himself is in no way reckless. Just an FYI. 😉

Reckless Love (by Cory Asbury)

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

 

Basis of Hope (Amos 5)

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” (Amos 5:21-23)

If we put verses 21-23 in the modern context, how many of us go to church gatherings and meetings (feasts and assemblies)? How many of us tithe to the church or donate money or other resources (burnt offerings and grain offerings)? How many of us give or serve to simply appease God or others (peace or fellowship offerings)? How many of us take part in worshipful activities such as sing praise songs at church (noise of your songs)?

The answer is probably most, if not all, of people who call themselves Christian do all of these things. But when they are done without truly accepting Jesus, not only as Savior of our lives, but as LORD of our lives (meaning dying to ourselves and giving our life fully to Him), HE WILL NOT ACCEPT OR REGARD THEM. We have put our hope in the wrong things. (more…)

Decision Point (Joel 3:14 & 20-21)

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14)

“Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The Lord dwells in Zion!” (Joel 3:20-21)

While the book of Joel begins with a description of God’s impending judgment for the nation of Judah’s sins, it ends with the promise of restoration. For the children of God, our ending will always contain full assurance of His forgiveness and mercy! (more…)

A Stunning Contrast (Joel 2:25-26)

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm– my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.” (Joel 2:25-26)

After reading through the chilling description of “the day of the Lord” in Joel 1, some may be left with an unnerving feeling. But praise God, as more of the prophecy unfolds in Joel 2!

The second chapter of the book of Joel is such a rich and encouraging passage of the Bible, with many notable prophecies and a clear presentation of God’s love and gospel plan in response to His judgment. (more…)