Loved by Jehovah. One chosen without merit.
Jedidiah is the name that God gives to Solomon while he is yet a babe. He is the second child of David and Bathsheba, an unholy union paid for by the life of his elder sibling. But God calls Solomon, Jedidiah: Beloved of Jehovah. Loved by God. His wrath is spent, sin has been paid for, and before the child can do anything to earn or lose it, God bestows His love upon him.
Likewise, God so loved the world.
David and Bathsheba stand as Adam and Eve, seeking their own way instead of the Lord’s and reaping death as the consequence. Our elder brother, Jesus, the firstborn and innocent, takes upon Himself the penalty of their sin while also bestowing the grace of God upon us. David and Bathsheba are forgiven and we are loved. We are Jedidiah, the beloved of Jehovah, chosen not for our own merit, but on the merit of our brother who paid the wages of sin for us all.
That doesn’t mean that we cannot fail, for even Solomon went astray after his wives. But, even knowing where Solomon would end up, God still chose to love him and build Israel up to its golden height under his reign.
What would God accomplish in our lives if we yielded to His love? What would our walk with God be like if we could accept the fact that He simply loves us because He chooses to, and that He has a plan in the form of good works prepared for us to do? What would that relationship look like? What would a ministry look like built on that concept? Would it even be a “ministry”, or would it just be a holy life? One holy life multiplying into another, and another. A community of people loved by God fellowshipping together, sharing the journey, the joy, the blessings.
If I understood that my wife and kids and coworkers were all loved by God the same way that I am, unconditionally and immeasurably, would I treat them differently? How would I talk to an inmate, or a student, who is wholly loved by God just as I am? But what if he couldn’t see it? What if life taught him that God doesn’t care, or even hates him? How can I show the love of God to him?
And what does it mean to be loved by God if life doesn’t actually change? When putting our faith in Jesus doesn’t get us out on parole, or doesn’t stop our step-father from abusing us. Does it mean that the love of God is not real, or not effective? Or does it imply that God already loves the world unconditionally in the midst of our suffering and our faith is simply how we awaken to this fact? After all, the sun shines on the just and the unjust alike.
But what good is the love of God if He doesn’t rescue us?
Perhaps this awakening has less to do with aligning ourselves to the highest power who can protect us from the toils of life, and more to do with changing us and how we respond to the world around us. Instead of a faith that shields us from the world, maybe we are being invited into a faith that opens us up to the world as conduits of God’s love.
Exposed. Vulnerable. Like every tree that opens itself to the elements in order to offer its fruit to the world. Like Christ in the garden, putting our faith not in the legions of angels who could rescue us, but in the will of the Father who calls us to take on the suffering of the world at the hands of the world. Because maybe, just maybe, our hope is not about escaping the pending doom of our adversaries, but about being part of the grace-filled expansion of the Divine Kingdom.
Like Solomon, graced to build the Kingdom of Israel, we are the Beloved, graced to build the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is what I want to explore on Jedidiah’s Journey. This awakening to the reality of God’s love, the life-flow of Spirit. How have other people encountered this love and participated in it in their own lives? How do other cultures tell this story? And how can we be drawn deeper into the heart of the Divine by sharing these stories with each other?
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Buen Camino, my friends.