Man was intended to hear what Boris Pasternak called “the inward music” of our belovedness. In the book, A Traveler Toward the Dawn, John Eagan describes an encounter he has with his spiritual director on the sixth day on his annual, silent eight-day retreat, “John, the heart of it is this: to make the Lord and his immense love for you constitutive of your personal worth. Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God’s love for you and his choice of you constitutive your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.” “Who am I?” asked Merton, and he responded, “I am one loved by Christ.”
There is passage that illustrates God’s heart towards His people. This passage refers specifically to the name Jacob. Throughout the Old Testament, the name Jacob is a common poetic synonym for Israel. This description is no less true of the New Covenant believer. Tucked away in the book of Deuteronomy we read,
“10-He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. 11-As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, 12-so the LORD alone led him,
and there was no foreign god with him.”
What a picture of the heart of God for His people. This was His posture toward the children of Israel. The New Testament writers, searching for words sufficient enough to express God’s passionate and redemptive pursuit of man through the death and resurrection of His Son, could find no better word than grace. To understand the power of these verses as it relates to God’s love for mankind, here is my expanded interpretation of Deuteronomy 32:10-12. I have personalized these verses, as God would speak them to the New Covenant Chrisitan.
The Lord looked and saw man – lost, empty and wandering through a trackless wilderness. Living in a place outside of reality, void of meaning and purpose. Consumed by confusion, desolation, even losing the form of the original intent for which he had been designed. The Lord came to him in this place – the place where death had been spoken claim over him. The Lord came into his very presence, acquired him, delivered him and secured him. In doing so, man became the Lord’s very own possession once again. Change, complete change occurred turning man from the captivity of his wanderings. The Lord surrounded him, established him firmly and gave him a compass, directing his way. Moreover, the Lord instructed man, gave him understanding and distinguished him from all the rest. The Lord now stands by him as a booted warrior, ready to trample all those who would oppose. Man has become the affection of His heart. Even as one greatly cherishes and diligently protects the pupil of their eye, sensitive to every affliction, so the Lord responds the same way to those who are His. As an eagle stirs up its nest, fluttering over her brood to excite and teach them to fly, so the Lord will teach you to live in the places that He has called you to. As the eagle broods over her young, communicating to them a portion of her own vital warmth: so does the Lord, by the influences of His Spirit, enlighten, encourage, and strengthen your minds for activity. As the eagle would spread abroad her wings, not only to teach them how to fly, but to bear them on her back when weary, so the Lord will sustain you. As the eagle, through extraordinary affection for her young, takes them upon her back when they are weary of flying, so that the archers cannot injure them but by piercing the body of the mother, so the Lord has been pierced for you and will continue to surround you with protection. Don’t be mistaken, it is the Lord alone who has brought you out, sustained you and now ever presently guides you.
There is no other hand, no other means, no other god.
It is essential that our theology about God and His posture toward mankind be accurate. We must see Him as the loving Father that He truly is. We will soon look at the role and responsibility that God gave man, however all of that was laid upon the foundation of His sovereign love.
God created Adam for the very purpose of finding pleasure in his union with the Creator of the universe. Before Adam was given any assignment, role or responsibility, he was put in a place conducive for intimacy with the Almighty. “The LORD God took Adam and placed him in the garden of Eden.” (Genesis 2:15 italics mine). It was out of this intimacy that Adam was to serve. All of his daily activities were to be fueled by this common-union.
This original common-union is one of the most vivid pictures of love. Love, was to be the primary expression of Adam’s existence. Love towards God and love towards His creation. Love towards God was to simply be expressed by a drawing near to the ever-present union of the spirit. Centuries later, James would exhort followers of Christ to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Adam knew this first hand.