Beth Moore - I Love the Lord, Part 2
This is one of those verses that you put a star by in the margin because the concept is tremendously meaningful and it needs to be down in the marrow of our bones. It's about Christ, of course, Christ the great High Priest. You probably see that captioned at the top of your 5th chapter of Hebrews. I'm gonna start reading at verse 7. It says, "During his earthly life, he offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence".
He was heard because of his reverence. Listen carefully. He cried out to the one who was able to save him from death, and he did it with loud cries and tears. I want you to think this through for a moment because when we think about the Garden of Gethsemane and that time of agony when we're told that Jesus literally had drops of blood like sweat coming from his skin, and such agony, just agonizing nearly to death, I believe really bearing the cross privately before he went and bore it publicly there before God, asking him several times, "If you could will it, would you let this cup pass from me"? And what Hebrews 5, verse 7 tells us is these were loud cries. This wasn't just quiet sobbing. This wasn't just tears rolling. This is him, like, sobbing out loud, "Let this pass from me".
I want you to hear something 'cause this is so important. God heard him. And in hearing, it's not just talking about the sense of hearing as a sensory thing. Hearing means, "Oh, I hear you. I receive what you're saying. I understand it. I'm pressed into it. I'm leaned forward into it. I hear you". What I want you to understand is that he heard him even though the answer was no. Here's what I want you to understand with me tonight. Us being heard is not just about us getting the answers that we want. It's also about the fact that we are loved and esteemed enough for God to listen to what we're saying; that you have the privilege to come before him and bring all your, "What is going on here? Why have you let this happen? Why didn't you stop this? Why didn't you do this? Lord, deliver us here. Lord, take this from us".
It's not just about getting what we want, it is about knowing we are heard and it is registering with someone who loves us completely. Oh, do not think for a moment that is not of value, because I'm gonna tell you something. By the time I hear somebody I love crying out loud, by the time I'm saying, "I cannot give you that," there's a dang good reason for it. They may never understand it in this lifetime, but I'm going to tell you, we are going to understand when we see him face to face. And until then, to know I have registered my despair, my disappointment, my doubts, my questions, my complaint. They have been registered and they have been heard. I love the Lord because he heard my voice.
Number two, I love the Lord because he lived up to his claims. I'm looking back in Psalm 116, and I want you to note something with me. Notice after he begins, "I love the Lord because he has heard my appeal for mercy. He turned his ear to me, and I will call out to him as long as I live". Get with me to verse 5, where it says, "The Lord is gracious and righteous; and compassionate". Our God is compassionate. Gracious and compassionate. There's righteous in between, glory to God, but I want you to see the words "gracious" and "compassionate" in particular because there is this marvelous place in Exodus 34 where Moses has just said in Exodus 33, "Lord, show me your glory. Show me your glory". And he can't see the face of God because God tells him, "You can't see my face and live, so here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna answer you prayer a little different way than you're asking me, but I'm gonna put you in a cleft in the rock, and then I'm gonna cover you there with my hand, and then I'm gonna let all my goodness pass before you".
And he's showing him his glory, where he can't see it with his eyes, but he's gonna see this glimpse. It says he sees his back, and it's the strangest thing to me. How do you see the back of God? But this has happened to us so many times where we have not known that God was with us in a situation until the very end of it. But all that time, it just seemed dark to us. It just seemed dark to us. You know why it was dark? Because we were tucked behind his hand, and his glory passing by, all his goodness passing by. We thought he was nowhere to be found, then all the sudden toward the end of it we get this little glimpse that he was there all along. You were there all along. I believe that in my childhood, in my troubled home, in all the instability, in all my failure, in all the times that I fell deeply in a pit of sin, I was dark, but at the tail end of every one of those seasons, I got just a glimpse, just enough to know he had never left me. He had never left me. And so it starts in Exodus 34 where it says that the Lord proclaimed his name to Moses. So he's got him hidden in a cleft of the rock. He's gonna proclaim his name to him, so this is a self-disclosure.
Now, the reason why I love this is because the Word of God of course is about God. It tells us about God from Genesis to Revelation, but it is a mighty thing when God is describing himself. You and I can describe God to one another the best we know how according to Scripture, but listen, we wanna have our ears perked. We wanna be doing this... "You hear that" when God's describing himself. I mean, we want our hands cupped behind our real ears. What does God say about himself? And I wanna read it to you, "Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.'"
Compassionate. I want you to think about that word. I want you to look at it on the page because the psalmist is identifying God as God identifies himself. He's telling us he is gracious and he's compassionate, and God has told us that. It's the first he tells us about himself and his self-disclosure, that he is compassionate and he is gracious. And compassionate, that C-O-M on the beginning of it, it would mean this in Hebrew just like it would mean it in the English language, it means, C-O-M means with, and then passionate, passion, suffering; that he's, like, with us in it. With us in it. And I want you to think with me what that means, that he's not only present, but he has scooted into the suffering of it.
So if you've lost a loved one, if you've lost your health, lost a marriage, if you've been through a tremendous heartbreak, someone has betrayed you or in some way forsaken you, I want you to understand something in your suffering, that he's not only present with you, but he is with you in the actual suffering; that what your heart is going through, he is in it with you. That's one reason why it was so important in the plan of God that Christ come and take on flesh, and be tempted in all ways as we are, the Scriptures say, yet without sin, so he could get in that body. What does it feel like to be this, like, eternal God and then you're gonna all the sudden be limited? You're gonna need sleep. Limited in what your physical body will allow you to do. Then Jesus could only be one place at a time. Is anybody getting in this with me?
If he bumped himself, he was gonna bruise. When the nails went through his hands, he bled because he had to take on a body like ours and get into life with us. And I decided to just look up every single time in the Gospels that it said that he had compassion, and it was about everything under the sun. It would be because they were lost like sheep without a shepherd. They were just harassed, and aimless, and wandering. He was compassionate. IT was because they were riddled by disease, or perhaps by some kind of demonic torment, and he was compassionate. In the consequences of sin, like Luke chapter 15 with the prodigal son, compassionate. You need to know he's with you in it, all the way with you in it. And for every single time someone has tried to relate with you and you've thought, "You have no idea how I feel," do you know that, to a certain extent, that's fair to say?
The writer of Proverbs said, "Each heart knows its own bitterness". In other words, you know what? You could go through the same thing, but you ain't the same person going through the same thing. You don't have the same DNA. You don't have the same experience. You haven't been through the same things. You're not the same person. So in a lot of ways, your suffering is very individual to you, and your angst and your anguish very individual to you. That's fair to say. We have fellowship, but it's fair to say, "No, I'm really going through something here I'm not sure anybody can totally get except Jesus". He scooted right in there beside you, right in there with you.
I want you turn with me to 1 John chapter 4. 1 John chapter 4, because we cannot talk about this subject and not go to the first letter of John the Revelator, John the beloved disciple. 1 John 4:7, "Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God". Love finds its origin in God in God, so it's got to come entirely from him. Now, let me read 16 through 19. Sixteen says this, "And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us". I love the Lord because he loved me first. Because he loved me first. This is so critical, because maybe you know, but I'm asking you, do you believe? I'm asking you tonight, do you believe? And I'm not asking you if you believe it for other people that you tell this to all the time; that when you testify and you go, "You have no idea how much God loves you," you believe he loves them. I'm not asking you about them. I'm asking you about you. I know you know, I'm assuming many of you know the love of God. I'm asking you, do you believe it?
We have come to know and believe. Do you believe it for you? Because I don't know, but I'm the last person I tend to believe it for. Is anybody like me? 'Cause I live in this mess. I mean, I'm just like, "Whew". Listen, it is getting rough in here. Rough in here. And I find it's a little hard to believe. "God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him". Let me stop there for just a moment. God is love. That means, and I'm gonna just make up a word here, love is part of the is-ness of God. It's what he is. It's not just what we does. If it was what he does, then he could just, like, stop it if he wanted to. He's God, he can do anything, but what he'd have to do to love less is be less God. I need somebody to work with me tonight, because it's his very essence. It's part of his person. He is love. So if he's gonna love you less, he needs to be less God than he was the day before.
If what you did yesterday could affect the way he felt about you, well, then he's less God today than he was yesterday. So if he is as much God today as he was yesterday, then you have not depleted a single ounce of his love because you cannot make God any less. And somebody needs a revelation tonight. Somebody needs a revelation. And revelation demands response. When a fresh word comes to us, we respond to it. We don't just listen, we respond to it. We're gonna receive it. We're gonna know and believe the love that God has for us. It says in 17, "In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also we are in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because he first loved us". We will never be able to give what we have not received. We won't. We won't.
So here's part of what sets us free this evening. If we've been, like, trapped in a very restricted heart and our affections are restricted toward God and our fellow man, toward our neighbor, then wouldn't it be something to come to the revelation, "You know what? I don't even believe he loves me". I gotta let that in. I gotta let that in, because do you realize that could start today? That could start today? No, I don't just know it, I believe it and I believe it for me. I believe there's nothing I could've done, that could've made him love me less. For some of you, it doesn't have anything to do with anything you've ever done. You thought, "You know, I've always tried to do the right thing. I still don't feel like he loves me. I don't feel like he knows I'm on the planet".
We have to get from God what we're going to give back to him. We cannot give it to him if we don't get it from him. So some of us in this room, honestly, can I be just this blunt? Some of us are honestly convinced we love God more than he loves us. We do. Like, you know, I pay attention to you. I mean, I actually look into what you're doing. Every now and then when I say, the first words out of my mouth every single morning are, "Good morning, Lord," and every now and then, I'll say to him, I don't know why, it just seems like the thing to say, "How are you this morning"? And he's like, you know, he never does say anything out loud to me, but I always try to think what he'd be saying and I think he'd be saying, like, "Well, high and lifted up," you know? "Doing just fine here".
And I don't know, I'm just always so glad God's doing fine. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know a lot of people these days doing just fine. I'm glad God's doing fine. Do you know that I very often travel by myself to the annoyance of one of my coworkers. She's just like, "Beth, you know you drive your staff crazy with this". And I know that I do, and I even know that most of the time it's not a good idea, but you know what I do it? I'm not saying I'll always get away with it, but you know why I do it? I love the feeling that I'm just away with him, that nobody's interfering with that. I'll say hi to people here and there, but like, it's my date.
I'm off on a trip with this one I've come to seek. I've told you a little bit about my grandkids, and I've got the cutest grandson in the entire world. He's just about to turn 14, so please know I do not love my granddaughters any more than I love my grandson, but I'd have to really talk to you about video games and how I could really make a good spiritual illustration out of a video game right now and this point in his life. And so I'll hold off on that for a moment, but I wanna tell you something about Annabeth, my granddaughter. She's had a tough year. She's very gregarious. She is mini-me if you have ever met mini-me, which means that her mouth just keeps her in trouble all the time. But she's a really good kid and just never meets a stranger, and so all of these things, but man, she's had a tough year.
And it's hard to watch a kid that has been really confident go through that, where there's sort of a loss of that. And suddenly after they've been, 'cause I've always felt like, I've wondered, because she's the only one in my whole entire extended family that has my real extrovert personality, and I've always wondered, is she what I would've been like had I not been in such an unstable environment and had not been abused? And I'll never know the answer to that, but I'm suddenly watching her, you know, have a difficult time and a difficult time with something, several somethings all at the same time. You know the drill. You know it with an 11-year-old girl. You know, it's just, like, dramatic. But what I did not know is I would do it all again as a grandparent. I'm feeling all the same things.
Now I'm just, you know, I'm with her mom just going like, "Okay, what happened? Exactly what happened now"? So Annabeth has an iPad and it's very, very carefully regulated, but she only gets to text a couple of us, and it's two of her friends, and then it's me, and her aunt, and her mom. So we get texted a lot, you can imagine, 'cause she wants to use it, and so, we're what she's got. And so, I texted her just one-on-one about a week ago. I was gonna say five days, about a week ago, and I said to her, "I need to know how your week's going". 'Cause I mean, I know if my grandkids have colds. We're very, very involved in one another's lives. And I said, "Bibby". They call me Bibby, B-I-B-B-Y. And I said, "Bibby needs to know how your week's been".
And so in awhile I can, you know, I can see the little three dots are going like this... and so I know she's writing me, and I mean, it just goes on, and on, and on, and on. And when she writes me back, I mean, I've got a text this long, and it has not been good. And I wrote her back, I said, "You know what? I think that you need to spend some of this weekend with your Bibby and it is time for some real grandparent love". You know what I'm saying? There comes a time when I'm gonna, and she's got fabulous parents, fabulous, but I thought, "You know what? You need your grandmother". Anybody know what I'm talking about? Sometimes you need your grandma, anybody? Sometimes you've got to have your grandmother.
There's some things, I can tell you, a mother is everything else, but she ain't the grandmother. I'll tell you that. She ain't the grandmother. And so she immediately text me back and goes, "Ask Mom"! And so I said, "I will. I'll do it right now". And so I asked Manda, she said, "Yes, you can have her". I went and got her right after school on Friday and I had her until early the next afternoon, and so I just wanted to show you a couple of pictures. I wanted you to see the first one is in the car on the way, I mean have you, is that a happy girl or what? And then after we got home, I'll show you the next one. This is what I call the grand spa. That's her little feet in a warm little sudsy foot bath. And then that's some warm towels around her neck, and then I gave her a good foot massage, and then I gave her a good neck and shoulder massage. And we slept in a room where both of us had beds in the room. I mean, she got every...
Listen, you talk about prosper, I'm not, I am a very, very anti-prosperity gospel except in grandparenting, and then it's like, you know what? Name it and claim it, you know? Name it and claim it. And this is why the parents have to come get the children is because, name it and claim it. And so, I mean, it was just everything we could do, everything we could do. So the next day, her mom texted me and said, "I'm on my way with the kids and I'm gonna grab my youngin from you," and so I knew I had about an hour longer before she'd be there.
And I looked at Annabeth, and oh, she was just all stretched out right in front of the fireplace. It was real cold that morning, her little bare feet right in front of the fireplace, and she was reading. And I said, "Baby, is there anything else your grandmother can do for you"? And she said, "No, Bibby". I said, "Anything else". I said, "Can you think of anything"? I said, "Is there anything I can fix you"? "No, Bibby. No, Bibby". I said, "I wanna ask you this. That little heart that had all those holes in when you came, has every single one of those been filled in"? And she turned around and looked at me in that chair and she said, "Yes, Bibby". I said, "All right. All right".