¹That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,Melting ice, scorching deserts,warming hearts to faith. – Psalm 19:6 MSG
During this present Lenten season, our church is going through a workbook series as a whole – DOES GOD REALLY LOVE YOU?¹ It is a very intense walk giving us an opportunity to bring the Word of God into the reality of who we are. Can we embrace our true identity? God is reaching out for intimacy with His children.
Can you answer this question in quiet peace? “Does God Even Like Me?”
When we read the scriptures, and we are quite mandatory about it, the accomplishment can become more of a “to do” activity. Cross it off your list and get to the next activity for the day. If you read in that fashion, it is very difficult to answer the question “Does God Really Love Me”? because the only things brought away from the text are 1. what to do or 2. what not to do.
Do you remember a time you even read the bible to gain an intimate connection to His love being offered? Was there a sweet aroma, a gentle touch of His acceptance.?
This is a two part fictional adaptation of the WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY (John 8 1-11) Read slowly. What character attracts you the most? The woman? An observer? An accuser?
The night was calm and sweet. Peacefully lying in the strong arms of a man who showed her tenderness, she felt safe. This man seemed — different. Not like others before with their ugly breath, horrid eyes and single desire.
She longed to be delivered from the gross life previously surrounding her nights. Days no longer existed. Sunlight brought no joy. Shame labelled all her clothing.
This man came to her secretly, but gently. The past few nights brought a delightful-sens. Could he actually feel something for her? Did she have more purpose than that of a woman’s body?
Restful sleep came upon her.
Without warning, temple guards crashed into the house. Sun’s rays peeled through the window. Fear consumed her body although she felt he would be near for protection. She reached over to feel the mat’s other side.
It was empty!
With anxious questions, she thought, “ Why are the sheets disheveled and the bed still warm? He was just here. Where was he?”
Looking around, no one was in sight to stand between her and these angry, hateful men.
Instinctively she grabbed the bedclothes as she was yanked from the room. In pain and disillusionment, tears running down her cheeks, she faced the self-righteous crowd in the courtyard.
The hideous mockery swirled in rude contrast to the peaceful quiet night she just experienced. Inside she hoped her lover would still come to her rescue. Glaring rays from the sun. Noise. Confusion.
“Surely he won’t allow the legal punishment to be carried out against me.”
Clutching the sheets to cover her shame, she was dropped before the temple leaders. In the mental, emotional, turmoil, she could make out the out the forms of two men. Her life would be changed forever by the actions of each.
One of the two men standing in the crowd she recognized from last night. Will he speak up in her defense? Will he express concern? Will he show the tender care his words and actions gave in the evenings before.? Their eyes met. He quickly turned away.
The chaotic noise from the crowd slowly faded away. More agony gripped her as she realized the man who turned his gaze was the son of the Pharisee Leader. Standing next to her loudest accuser was the one she had given her very soul the nights before.
“Please God, “ she cried silently to heaven, ” if You exist, may the first rock finish me. The pain in my heart has killed me already. “
“What is taking so long? Waiting for the discussion is far worse than the sentence itself.”
John 8:4 NIV
Who was this other man? His eyes were kind. His face was gentle. There was truth all around Him. He stood and looked at her so differently than any other man.
“This Teacher can’t come closer to me. He knows what I am. He will become unclean. Who is He?”
Bending over very quietly, He scribbled in the sand.
The Pharisees continued their pestering questions. On and On!! Finally the Man stopped His scribbling. Without anger or malice, He stood up and proposed a simple statement:
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”
John 8:7 NIV
He returned to the ground and his scribbling.
The seconds felt like hours as she shook beneath her cloth protection, waiting for the first rock. The only sounds were the swish of His finger on the sand and the heavy breathing of men.
THUD! THUD! THUD!
Rocks were slowly falling around her. Feet shuffled away.
Angrily looking around, the Chief Pharisee watched the rest of the accusers shake their heads and drop rocks. Grabbing his robe to keep his cleanliness intact, the loudest accuser turned to leave the scene. With an angry grunt, and eyes blazing, he demanded his son to follow.
The young man responded. As his eyes met hers, there was no love, no concern, no care. Just a look. Hearing another urgent word from his father, the son walked.
Left alone, she couldn’t comprehend what took place?
End of part one!
Do you walk through life in fear and loneliness with the conclusion EVERYONE is out to get you? This woman’s life was in constant fear. Her life was crippled by the choices she made. Looked for love in all the wrong places. Even when thinking she found it, it was not “well formed love
God’s love does not work in that fashion.
That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts,warming hearts to faith. – Psalm 19:6
1 Reference is to book used by Duluth Vineyard Church https://www.facebook.com/theduluthvineyardchurch/ (Does God Really Love Me?) Vineyard Resourses 2016.