Mar012016
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God Adores You.

By Jenna Devotions Leave a comment

We were playing at the park one afternoon, throwing the ball and making new friends, when I looked around to check on my 5 year old daughter.  She had been running about since we got there, gulping in the sweet fresh air of late winter as she ran and climbed and slid. There is just something about a wonderfully rainy winter in California that propels you to chase the last hour of warm sunshine on a free Friday afternoon.

My eyes found her leaning against the pond fence, watching the ducks waddle and beg for bread.  I wandered over and watched with her. After a while I was ready to move on. “Come on Sweetheart, let’s go back.” I urged.

“But, Mama.” Her little voice confided, “They are just so beautiful I can’t stop looking at them!”

Ducks

My heart melted, and of course I reached for my phone to instagram it.  But after posting, I was deeply impressed with the much more sacred meaning of that moment, noticed in a simple comment by my precious Mother-in-Love. Her words have rippled through my thoughts ever since:


 “That’s the way God looks at us, through Christ.”


 

Beautiful

Isn’t that amazing? In Christ. That’s what God sees when He looks down at us: breath-taking beauty! Truly it is so.

And in today’s Life Journal reading, I found proof. It was tucked inside the book of Numbers. Right there in Numbers 24 {of all places!} is where we can find a most touching glimpse of God’s endearing love for His people.

The Israelites had been camping and moving across the land near Canaan for many years. Their numbers had grown so vast that the nations they traveled near were frightened. The stories of the miracles and wonders of the past left other nations feeling vulnerable. So when God’s people set up camp near the border of the land of Moab, the Moabites’ fear rose sharply. “This hoard is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” (Numbers 22:4) they worried. Their king, Balak, sent word to Balaam, a man with the gift of prophecy, to come quickly and curse these Israelites before they could cause any damage.

That night Balaam enquired of the Lord what he should do, and the Lord answered,

“You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed. ” (Numbers 22:12)

Balaam sent word back to King Balak that he would not come and curse the Israelites because God forbade it. But King Balak wasn’t ready to give up. The next day he sent “more numerous and more distinguished [princes] than the first” (Numbers 22:15) to persuade Balaam.

But Balaam answered, “Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything to go beyond the command of  the Lord my God.” (Numbers 22:18)

But finally, after much prodding from Moab and the unexpected release from God, Balaam went with them to meet King Balak. Right away the king took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal, where part of the people of Israel could be seen down below.

“Look at the people down there!” Balak said pointing into the valley, “Can you curse them from here?”

Balaam went before the Lord with sacrifices, waiting and listening. When he returned to King Balak, standing again where they could gaze down at the many people encamped in the valley, Balaam opened his mouth and proclaimed a breath-taking blessing over them. (Numbers 23:7-11)

Balak was enraged. “I brought you here to curse them and all you can do is bless them!” He roared.

Balaam reminded him again, “I can only say what God puts in my mouth to say.”

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Still Balak wouldn’t give up. “Come, let’s go to a different place where you can see a different part of the camp of people. Maybe you can curse them from there.”

Three more times the same thing happened. Balak was working every angel to get Balaam (and God) to curse the Israelite people. They traveled to each summit where the people’s encampment could be seen. They would stand up there and look down at all those people. But each time, God looked down with them and blessed them, not allowing any curse to be spoken.

Until finally Balaam was overcome. These words from heaven, straight from God’s heart, came tumbling out of his mouth:

“How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel! like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river…” (Numbers 24:3-9) He went on and on, describing their beauty and His joy at looking at them, heaping blessing upon their heads.

Every time the enemy said, “Come, look at these silly people and curse them!” God said, “No, look at these beautiful people!  I love them!”

The enemy still tries to do the same thing in our lives. He points and criticizes, accuses and ridicules. His voice of criticism whispers over our shoulders, sometimes seeming to come from every direction, but for every attempted curse, God pours out His beautiful blessing instead.

In Christ, God gazes down at us from every angle, in every light, with nothing hidden from His eyes and says, “Oh, look how beautiful they are! I just can’t stop looking at them!”

In Christ, we are beautiful in God’s eyes. In Christ, curses cannot stick. In Christ, blessings flow from the heavenly places. When we are hidden in Christ, the enemy’s attacks can no longer settle upon our lives.

In Christ, we experience how much God truly, deeply, adores us.

May God’s adoration flood through your heart today and transform the picture you see of yourself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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