Please and pretty please

Rise up, be our help, And redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness.

Psalms 44:26 ESV2011

Check out what this songwriter is asking.  Without a “please” you might think he or she is telling God what to do.  A little disturbing, huh?  Maybe “please” is just another syllable, unnecessary when the situation is dire. “Kurie, sôson me” from Peter, as he sunk beneath the waves, is entirely appropriate.

The request for action, the command, is the imperative (command) form of the action word. Stop signs and “no  entry” warnings, for example,, leave us no choice.   They are perfect commands.  Ignore them and you pay the violater’s price. When we want God to act we ask respectfully and do not command. 
na” shows up when a request is urgent and “ana” shows up when the emergency is personal.  The two appear in together in rare circumstances (Gen. 50:17, 2 Kings 20:3 [same as Isa. 38:3], Neh. 1:11, Ps. 118:25)

Let me say that asking God for anything successfully is shaped by us knowing what he might do and what he definitely will not do.  We can also forget that idea about asking for whatever is in our heart (the heart being not the best place to source our requests to God).   Success in our prayers does not depend on God’s ability to do what we deem is impossible.  In addition there are way too many prayers that are like sending gift wishes to Santa Claus –  asking for things we can get all on our own human initiative.

A law and order person cannot get away with trying to make the Law of God (there is only one!) the law of the land.  Mixing human legislation with Mosaic law is a deadly trap.  A kingdom built on a divine person needs no condemnatory guidance.

P  l  e  a  s  e , with arm-pulling and a smile

“Pretty please” is a harbour for those who sense that their need may be urgent, who, with an added yank on the arm of the supplier (mom or dad) and a smile in his or her direction, put in their request.

Prayer does not work like that.  Maybe with persistence (Luke 18:1ff) a prayer with no distinction will get God’s attention.  It is entirely out of the question to approah God with our evaluation of ourselves as being in his will.  God sees through our smile, and arm-pulling, and our spin or loyal talk.

Spin and poetic license

17). All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, And we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant. 18) Our heart has not turned back, And our steps have not deviated from Your way,

Psalms 44:17’18

Have you ever wondered why a person who is, by whatever method of evaluation, keeping God’s commandments needs to ask God for anything?  Is not commandment-keeping supposed to be the distinct and ultimate achievement?

To be recognized as perfectly obedient was the prized “credit score”.  It is precisely the reputation that the writer of Psalm 44 felt he or she needed to protect- while acknowledging the decrees of God regarding the violation of the covenant. Frankly, there is no way to talk about law without recognizing the universal shortcoming.

That request we see in Psalm 44 came after Israel has been chastened by means of exile and still the lie persists. The more respectful request – without the poetic license – will address the matter directly. Hosannah is the cry for salvation, and there is no answer coming except, as the children in the temple chanted, from David’s son.

anna yhwh hoshiah na – anna yhwh hatslichah na

I think we owe it to our audiences to make it clear that our prayers do not tell God what to do. S’il vous plait – anna and na – are examples of the way humans can call on the LORD for salvation.

Popular approval reined in

<p class="has-drop-cap has-vivid-green-cyan-color has-black-background-color has-text-color has-background" style="line-height:1.2" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Grace is more than amazing. One thing's for certain: it is not human. More and more we hear people talking about loving their country and committing heinous acts against vulnerable people. If crimes against humanity were to be ranked we would see the names of the blind, widowed persons, migrants and female children. The authorities know that they cannot prevent common crimes like stealing and murder so they repeat terms such as "fully investigate" and "never happen again"; they create sound bytes that give the impression that we do not wink at wrongdoing. This is why talk about perfect performances are popular and perfection swings back and forth between pledges and discontentment with oneself, and all such talk is slowly being reined in.Grace is more than amazing. One thing’s for certain: it is not human. More and more we hear people talking about loving their country and committing heinous acts against vulnerable people. If crimes against humanity were to be ranked we would see the names of the blind, widowed persons, migrants and female children. The authorities know that they cannot prevent common crimes like stealing and murder so they repeat terms such as “fully investigate” and “never happen again”; they create sound bytes that give the impression that we do not wink at wrongdoing. This is why talk about perfect performances are popular and perfection swings back and forth between pledges and discontentment with oneself, and all such talk is slowly being reined in.

Everybody deserves second chances, but not for the same mistakes


Who gets one mistake?

What is a second chance? It is supposed to be an additional opportunity.  A baseball player at bat gets to miss three times before the door closes on his batting.  That is a game that runs for no more than a few hours, and surely, life is expected  to be kinder to a person because there is so much time available.   The people most ignorant of the process of human growth and the development  of expertise need to tell us how many mistakes are made and how many chances are needed (i) by infants trying to walk (ii) adults learning to drive a car or (iii) seniors forgetting what they were doing before being interrupted.

It is an uncaring mind deluded by its own perfection that says a person is allowed to miss a goal once. A fisherman once thought that forgiving a neighbour seven times was a high bar, but he learned that 70×7 was more realistic.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (21) Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (22).

Matthew 18:21-22

The speed with people let go of certainty to cling to anxiety, anger and anguish indicates that the mystery of the human race’s deception is proceeding. We can feel that we have taken a tough stand by demanding that repeat errrors are conclusive in rendering the repeat offender unforgivable. Under circumstances of “never stumbling” no soul could ever be saved.

Four days to reflect on salvation’s price

As our Jewish brothers celebrate Pesach (Passover) 5781 (2021) a couple of grand notions are coming together. The natural world witnesses with the full moon, and love is certainly in the air: love guaranteed to Abraham and to his descendants. Trouble is on the mind because deliverance from Egypt, which the Passover commemorates, ended tragically for those people who escaped from Pharaoh’s grip. In the original Pesach, four days after choosing and separating a lamb from its mother its blood marked a Jewish home to be spared Yahweh’s strike against Egyptian firstbon man and beast.

Favourable friction

Shaken to the core, most ancient religions are coming to grips with the relevance of their rituals. Many have run into the wall of division and discrimination, and many ancient traditions just do not hold water for the nobility and longevity of the human race. Passover has to be something special or we could find ourselves losing armies (as the Egyptians did). Liberation theology, for example, does well to stay away from paschal notions of identity, bondage and deliverance. Jewish theology rightly clings to the image of a people saved by blood.

Remember and tell the story

Full moons mark the middle of the month.  Months that are reckoned by observing the moon (Gen. 1:14) are around 29 days, making the natural sign for Passover a monthly occurrence.  There is one other mid-month observance – the 14th of Adar, the secular (not ordered by Moses) commemorating deliverance from Persian assaults. These days everyone looks for a way to apply practices like Passover to their own cultural circumstance, but it is rare to find a reasonable facsimile of the people who escaped from Pharaoh’s grip. Devoting time to stand in awe of divine intervention at every full moon is not a bad idea if one truly wants not to forget. At least four days to reflect on the innocent lamb should do nicely.

Shocked but safe

“Can’t complain” is an answer to “How are you?” but complaints are not sinful. What we complain about tends to be slight and part of the common experience. We hear human parents saying they love us but we are not so sure they do when we experience their resolute attempts to change our life’s course. In hindsight we can be shocked at our rush to grow up in the natural world but we know how much safety there can be when we hold ourselves open to parental discipline.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; (4). and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; (5)

Hebrews 12:4-5

We are all eager to grow up partly because we long for freedom and independence, but we also do not want to grow up because parents are our natural safety net.

Go slap that kid – worse is likely to happen if you don’t.

There is value in childlike attitudes of dependence in the spiritual world without regard to how old we are or how advanced our journey is. While we naturally and legally disengage from parental discipline in the natural world there is no end of discipline in the spiritual world. It is certain that divine discipline will shock us but when we are oriented towards God as children we will also be convinced that we could not be safer.

Internal deceit

The practice of learning by repeating may seem like the way to make God’s will a part of a person’s talk and walk.  After all that is how humans learn most things.  A person can wear the designated swag, eat the uncommon food, observe the cyclical memorials,  and provide the evidence of correct behaviour in all of life’s circumstances and still have a heart that is at arms length from God’s will.  In the few decades that I have been allowed to observe religious developments I have seen that it does not take long for lies  to become the truth.  Internal deceit is a thing we were born with so it comes quite naturally for humans to find lies attractive and easy for us to latch on to even the most outrageous falsehoods.

Insight from the Bible.

I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders.

Psalms 26:4

Psalms 26:4 seems to connect deceit with hypocrisy, but hypocrisy and hypoctite are not textually prominent.

Cleansing the holy should be taken as a joke

He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.

Leviticus 16:16

Pretending and role plays are not joking matters. It is how we learn. If we taught today – in 2021 – that a man could redeem his life with the life of a lamb, goat, or bull, people would laugh us out of town, and we would be known as the people who are not worth much. However, when the people who hold your life in their hands tell you that the thing to do when you have violated the law is to bring an animal (get one if you do not own one) what is a guy to do?

A virulent version of vileness

How long have Christians been saying that physical healing is part of being adopted into God’s family? A few years at most.  There is no way that Christ endured the cross – stripes, bloodshed –  to arrange for a benefit that can be achieved by purely human means.  If there are illnesses that Christ atoned for those conditions would be the ones for which humanity has no remedy.  The cancers, heart failures, loss of limbs, and even aging would be the logical targets for divine relief.

No such treatment by the Holy Spirit has ever been attested. The Christians I know are not turning down health insurance or avoiding medical practitioners.  Would not putting distance between us and those agencies be the course to take?  If someone set up a clinic in your neighbourhood offering to forgive all of a person’s sins, give people new hearts, endow a person with supernatural gifts and a daily mental renewing apart from the gospel of Messiah Yeshua that clinic would be a place every believer avoided like the plague.

Cleansing an impure people with animal flesh and blood

for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord.

Leviticus 16:30

As far back as the attempt by evangelical America to impose Christian views on the world apart from a personal salvation experience there has been the use of slogans to dupe people into thinking that the doctrine of Christ can be kidnapped for political purposes.  Christ did not recruit disciples on the basis of the Mosaic economy.  It is through Christ’s own blood and his gift of the Holy Spirit that individuals receive a fully functioning access to the eternal inheritance.  

They raised a question about what the accountable life looks like.  It is a near complete trashing of the facts, namely, that the tree planted by the rivers of water is fruitful and prospers in all it does.

So who is a true disciple and who is pretending? 

Dealing with sin has no annual cycle, no effective human component, no animal currency  and no repeat saving act.  Christ died all by himself without any help from apostle, disciple, judge or prophet. It is pure deceit to propose (a) that the human heart apart from God’s grace has the capacity to recognize God’s offer of salvation and adoption or (b) that any human has the will power to choose the way of faith.  Salvation does not come by means of human scrutiny or will power.  It comes by grace through faith.

Why call that salvation?

The foolish Galatian is alive and well in all the movements and doctrines of our times.  It is obvious that for the vast majority the grace that God designed for success is insufficient.   People needing to get their act together so that God can save them, are not saved,  by their own confession.  People who cannot say “I am safe” and “I am a child of God”  are lost in the desert of unbelief.

Trapped in the lobby

The only witnesses who told believers that they needed something additional was James and the Pharisee crew.  They proposed that believing in the Son of God was only a first step.  They argued that people coming to God through faith in Christ needed to be circumcised and observe Mosaic law.  People are still pushing falsehoods like that, thinking it makes them more responsible than other believers. Abraham had statutes and judgments (who does not?) but he had no law and priesthood.  His life was dominated by a promise.

There is no law that comes to humanity apart ftom Moses.  There is no salvation apart from the promise of  the  cross. If law could save there was no need for the cross. Life cannot possibly get crazier than for Christian faith to be defined by levitical practice in the second millennium after the crucifixion. Salvation is unequivocally Jewish and non-Mosaic. All those noisemakers revelling in their obedience to the law are the posterboys for desperately deceitful heart.

Bandit kings and the Lord’s anointed

The times of Abraham should not surprise us as being relevant to both our understanding and our experience.  There are other times and generations that contribute to the definitions we use to best explain the pillars of the in-Christ journey.  Abraham’s greatest moments come in interactions with his neighbours.  That’s right: nobility shines through in personal relationships.  The bandit kings of Canaan are a particularly riveting component of the patriarch’s seat in life.  In living colour, our era too has its megacities and, you guessed it, bandit kings in the persons of the mayors of large cities. We have reason to believe that the kings of the earth – mayor, governor, president, prime mnister – are destined to conspire against the Nazarene, the King of Israel, until he puts down their farcical dominions.

Itty-bitty kingdoms

Compared to the heads of state in antiquity the kings of Canaan, and even those kings of post-exilic Judah, were spineless boys who never grew up. Clearly we can see that the promised land into which Yahweh guided Abram was not an environment that was ready for civic society in Yahweh’s terms. Four hundred years would pass before Hebrews came from Egypt to enter Canaan, and even then Canaan’s kings were naturally resistant to having their land taken over by newcomers. We can see the nature of the Canaan in the following narrative.

  • Four kings allied against five (Genesis 14:1-12)
  • MINI-EMPIRE. (1) in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim,
  • WAR (2) that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). (3). All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).
  • REBELLION. (4) Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled. (5). In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him,
  • CONQUESTS. … came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, (6) and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
  • CONQUESTS. (7). Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar.
  • THE CANAANITE CAMPAIGN. (8) And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, (9) against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar–four kings against five. (10) Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country.
  • THE PRIZE – BOOTY. (11). Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed.
  • (12) They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom.


In our multicultural and cosmopolitan world we like to think of ourselves as well on the way to achieving a healthy environment in our cities especially for the next generation. Every generation that wants to be remembered as wise will make noise about and get into good trouble to contribute to the next generation’s survival. Abram was not about to get mixed up in the alliances and conflicts of his day, but taking Lot (as hostage?) was one step too far on the part of the bandit kings.

The narrative reveals that Abram pursued the robbers and hostage-takers, defeated them and liberated his nephew and property. Abram was dead set against the way of life of his neighbours, so when the kings of Sodom sought to get a share what he thought he had in common with Abram he got the shock of his life. The king of Sodom offers a deal: Abram keeps the goods, and he gets the people.

Abe’s response is the one we need for navigating the routes on which our 21st century bandit-kings operate.

And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.”

Gen. 14:21

Not a thread from you, sir

Is it possible that some of the money in the bank you use are the proceeds of criminal activity and you would still bank there after you recognized the fact? Is it not possible that the bishop you thought was leading you turns out to be merely exploiting you? What keeps a person chained to behave as if secure lives depend on bandit pastors and elected officials of the state? Keeping oneself apart from the filthiness that is in the world is challenging. It should matter that the church’s economy is a separate beast from the secular economy but banditry is happening in the church as it does in the state with many religious hopelessly ensnared.

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, (Gen. 14:22) that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ (Gen. 14:23) I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.” (Gen. 14:24)

Christians who want to eat at the same table with the worldly powers have no idea how much waste they are going to have to swallow. The mayors and their cities can only serve their master; the gods of wood, stone, and the nation’s laws. Genuine Christians will not be interested in a shoelace from the powers that be, even if we are responsible for the election of the mayor.

The local king of Yeshua’s days did not get so much as a glance from him even though Yeshua was his subject.

And when [Pilate] learned that [Yeshua] belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time. 7) Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. 8) And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing (9).

Luke 23:7-9

So to my brothers and sisters who think that they are on the front lines of the conflict between the kingdoms of light and darkness I say, “Go ahead wth your shallow theories about the cross and the Spirit”; I will avoid the contamination of every ism and make it clear where I stand when God’s business is mentioned. Warnings go unheeded every day, and there is no guarantee that a messenger will be dispatched to repeat the message. If we are interested in the end of the intoxication with the rich and powerful we must banish the way of greed from our domains, and put the rewards of Christian labour on its own pedestal, distinct from the work and proceeds of ordinary labour.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. (Ps. 2:10) ​Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (Ps. 2:11) ​Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Ps. 2:12)

Ps. 2:12

Love enforced is freedom’s wasteland

The commands to love God or one another only make sense in a culture or environment where hearts are deemed to be incapable of doing what comes natural to God and by any reckoning is the normal human pattern. I am pretty sure that parent-child love does not need to be commanded, so the presence of water in that bucket after hundreds of years of being under orders to love God raises questions about human freedom to hate and God’s love for freedom. The glorious liberty – not yet seen in full bloom – of God’s people is inconsistent with the indecision about what love between God and humans really looks like. Love for one another faces unsurmountable problems in the tradition of Mosaic instruction and levitical ministry.

It is incredible that we have not thought of asking Yeshua why a priest can violate Sabbath regulations and be blameless. The answer is quite simple and shows people in the grip of deception with their most precious possession being outrageous righteousness defined by the law of Moses. You can be forgiven for not believing Moses when he said “Ask Yeshua”. At least Moses knew who was in charge!

It is public knowledge – yet even the prophet and the prelate do not know – that a hungry person could enter the priestly compound, eat food expressly forbidden to anyone who is not from the priestly family, and face no charges. It is obvious that the sabbath and the law are lords of people who are mired in idolatry.

When I speak of love and God as inseparable I take my cue from the New Testament’s declaration that “God is love” and that God demonstrates that love tangibly. I also refer to the Old Testament declaration of God’s enduring goodness, lovingkindness and mercy. It was a big deal, that the people celebrated in the central shrine in a big way.

and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,

2 Chr. 5:13

Let us suppose that in the three years of Christ’s public ministry he never helped a needy soul on the Sabbath or that he did nothing that was thought to be God’s prerogative salvation would still be a dream and God’s love and the human response would be respectively a thing he demonstrated by choosing one of earth’s family and a thing demonstrated by obedience to a covenant that had neither forgiveness or adoption. The facts are not supposition.

God’s love and human salvation are entirely in the divine love stream. The love demonstrated by God in saving (pardoning all sin, adopting believers by means of the Holy Spirit). Salvation is not a condom and the Holy Spirit is not a agent of law and sin. So even with the law written in their hearts believers need forgiveness every day, or Christ and John are unreliable witnesses.

What future does a woman from one of Israel’s neighbours have when she becomes the wife of an Israelite, having been on the enemy list along with all her compatriots?

Human freedom to hate and divine love for freedom.

We cannot imagine God saying that his ultimate goal is expressed in the jubilee and at the same time I want you to be loyal to a a human, or human agency, or a particular family. What have we learned about a father’s love,

Abraham can enlighten us.

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Gen. 22:2

Love in Mosaic instruction stands opposite particular behaviours: vengeance and grudging.

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Lev. 19:18

Love insists on including outsiders

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Lev. 19:34

Love directed at God is on the same level as that directed at one’s neighbours

  • You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Lev. 19:18
  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deut. 6:5
  • Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Deut. 10:19

Loving God seems equal to fulfilling covenant duties

“You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always. Deut. 11:1

Loving parents and loving a spouse are very different matters

And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” Judg. 14:16

Loving things like traditions or practices stand opposite standards and practices

  • ​you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; Ps. 45:7
  • You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. — Selah Ps. 52:3
  • You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. Ps. 52:4

Contrast these “loves” with a personal love.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.

Eccl. 9:9

Loving God is not transactional; no benefit for which we can pay

Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors. Hos. 9:1

Loving God is not to be reduced to rituals

offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord GOD. Amos. 4:5

God’s love and hate are real but unlike the human versions

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob Mal. 1:2

Serving one master and hating the other

Hate is legitimate behaviour when it comes to choosing a certain kind of relationship. This kind of hate does not attack, assault, or plot the demise of its object. This hate starves the lines of fellowship. The object of this kind of hate gets little, if any, of one’s time. The hated master or mistress loses the ability to command or instruct.

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Matthew 6:24

An entity deserving to be called masster has no rival. Humans are not equipped to be mastered by more than one entity. Yeshua addressed having two masters as impossible not as a problem anyone can resolve. This demonstrates the folly of sitting on any fence when matters of God’s kingdom are the concern.

Love needs no reason. One “like” or a thousand professions even for the ultimate reasons is not lovemaking.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

Matthew 5:46

“You shall love me no matter what your life looks like, no matter where life leads” is a hard call. It is so hard that everyone practically looks elsewhere for relief every day. If we could eat something different every day we would. That love seems to apply only to God, and that kind of love has not been accepted by any culture. Who else, holding the keys to life, death, liberty and bondage, deserves to be loved and adored?

Love’s unfinished business

There has to be a thing called love beyond being obedient like a servant or a child. Divine love is not a construct of the created world. It transcends creation. Natural and supernatural love part ways, and the recognition and acceptance of it shapes the concept of life unmistakably. The endurance of the Jewish people shows us that love is not the transactional affair our teachers have told us it is. Seeing that love is a matter that God reveals to individuals (Matthew 16:15-20) prevents lipservice and ritual from overrunning the relationship. Seeing it is unlikely and problematic if proof of love is loyalty and obedience. That picture is simply the cause of tension and anxiety: anxiety over whether to swerve God or to love one’s neighbour. Should there not be a love for God outside of hearing everything he demands? There has to be lovemaking after the covenant obedience is achieved.

God reveals vital matters to individuals not groups

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Matt. 16:15
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matt. 16:16
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Matt. 16:17
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matt. 16:18
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt. 16:19
Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. Matt. 16:20

Thankfully the covenant that is open to all humans demonstrates the greatest love known, and does not depend on human loyalty to the covenant’s stipulations. The covenant that brings humans into God’s family is entirely God’s doing. The covenant path is uncomplicated: God gives His Son, His Son dies, and His resurrected Son sends the Holy Spirit to seal everyone who believes the gospel.