“My heart is turned over with me, all my compassions are kindled!”
Who expressed such deep love, whose emotions ran so deep, whose lifelong passion and affections were so strongly felt and shared with such longing, only to be disdained and rejected, year after year, breaking his very heart?
God loves and He first loved. The love He expresses above, in the book of Hosea, runs throughout His love letter to us in the Bible, culminates at the Cross, and will last for eternity–and that’s not just romantic rhetoric.
The cross at Calvary is not a scene of martyrdom, it’s where God’s love was proclamined and demonstrated to an unfaithful, fickle and flirtatious world. We could never have loved Him, had He not reached out in love first.
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us…” I John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He sent His only unique Son, that whoever believes on Him might never perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“But the love of God was manifested to us that God has sent His only unique Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son….” I John 4:9.10
“..who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?” Romans 11:35
“We love, because He first loved us!” I John 4:19
For today, I’ve tied together a few excerpts from several hymns, the writers of which desperately sought to express God’s impassioned display of love at the cross:
“O that these cords of love divine might draw me, Lord to Thee!
Thou hast my heart, it shall be Thine! Thine it shall ever be.”
“Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all!”
“Oh love amazing! love beyond the reach of human tongue;
Love which shall be the subject of an everlasting song!”
“Oh, the sweet wonders of that cross where God the Saviour loved and died!”
“Why did He feel that piercing smart, and meet that various scorn?
For love of us He bled and all in torture died;
‘Twas love that bow’d His fainting head, and opened His gushing side.”
“While His love, my soul surprising, cries ‘I suffered all for thee!'”
“In love, through rich, becoming poor, that I , through Him, enriched might be.”
“Hark! the voice of love and mercy sounds aloud from Calvary!”
“Tis not that I did choose Thee, for, Lord, that could not be,
This heart would still refuse Thee but Thou has chosen me:
Thou from the sin that stained me, washed me, and set me free,
And to this end ordained me, that I should live to Thee.
‘Twas sovereign mercy called me and taught my opening mind;
Tho’ world had else enthralled me to heavenly glories blind,
My heart owns none above Thee for Thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing if I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first!”
Human love and passion falls so short of God’s. But we can learn from Him and as Spurgeon’s advises,
“He who desires to know love, let him retire to Calvary and see the Man of Sorrows die.”