Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Value of a Life: We are deeply loved

What is the value of a life?

My reading this morning took me to a shocking passage in Judges 19-21. 

A man had a concubine. The woman "played the harlot against him" and went to her father's house. When she didn't return after several months, the man went there to woo her home. She consented to return with him and they set out on their journey.

They stopped for the night in Gibeah. Initially, no one invited them into their home, even though the man had provisions for himself, the woman, and his animals. Finally, a man invited them to sleep at his house rather than on the town square.

During the night, the men of Gibeah demanded that the traveling man be released to them so that they could have relations with him. The homeowner refused. Finally, to stop their demands, he took the traveling man's concubine and gave her to the men.

They raped her all night long, then dumped her on the door of the homeowner, dead.

The next morning, the traveling man found her, loaded her body, and went home. He wasn't done with the crime, however. He contacted the other eleven tribes of Judah and demanded vengeance for the woman.

Israel joined together and fought against (and killed) the men of Gibeah. Tens of thousands of men died avenging the unfaithful concubine.

The story has shocked me every time I've ever read it, and it did again today. Was she worth it? 

What is the value of one life? Of one unfaithful concubine?

As I was pondering that question, the answer came to me.

Jesus is the value of one life. 

When the man with 100 sheep lost one, he left the 99 to seek for the lost one because there is great value in even one sheep.

When the woman with ten coins lost one, she searched until she found the lost one because there is great value in even one coin.

When the father with two sons lost one, he watched and waited until the son returned, then threw a giant party, because there is great value in even one son.

"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Luke 15:7 nasb

Every righteous man and woman is precious to God, but He loves sinners, too. So much that He gave His Son to save us. When a sinner finally repents, the joy in heaven, ever present, increases even more. 

God is so thrilled by repentance that He throws a heavenly party to celebrate.

The unfaithful concubine wasn't married to the man, yet she lived with him and was intimate with him. Some would condemn her as a sinner, but God cared about her.

God knows us by name and He cares deeply about every one of us, despite our sin and our failures. That knowledge gives me great comfort. 

Even when I fail, He loves me. Even when I stumble, He cares. 

God loves the prodigals among us. He loves the failures among us. He loves the discouraged, and the hopeless, and the depressed. He loves the frail and weak among us.

His love is not dependent upon our worthiness. His love is simply because He is love.

Take heart today in the fact that we are of great value to God. We are deeply loved. 

We matter to Him and, when we are trapped in our sin, our Heavenly Father waits with arms open wide for us to come to Him. 

Let us live, then, as those who are greatly cherished, because we are, and that love changes everything.

#valueofalife #weareloved #loveofGod #linesfromleanna