God’s love revealed in His care

15-12-2011 10:12 AM

BY POPE SHENOUDA III


 Anything compared to the Unlimited God is considered as small and tiny, or even as nothing!


The creation or the whole universe is but a little thing, and God’s care for it reveals His humbleness and His love for His creation.
The earth is a mere planet from among the many and innumerable planets created by God.  And what is man but a handful of dust taken from this earth!  In this article we shall not contemplate on God’s care for the whole universe or mankind, but on His care for the little in the universe and in the world of man and even beyond that.


 Let us start with God’s love and care for the children.


God loves children for their innocence and simplicity, and because they have no complexity nor hypocrisy.  Therefore He says, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3) (Lk 18:17).  “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” (Mt 18:5; Lk 9: 48)


 The Lord defended the children, saying:


“Whoever causes one of these little ones… to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mt 18: 6; Lk 17: 2) “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Mt 18: 14).  The Lord also defended the children on Palm Sunday, and said to those who complained against them, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” (Mt 21: 16; Ps 8: 2).


The Lord loved the children and embraced them (Mk 10: 16).


When His disciples prevented them from approaching Him, He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mt 19: 14; Mk 10: 14) and He warned them not to despise any of those little children.


 The Lord even chose children for prophecy, ministry and serious responsibilities. 


He chose young Samuel, called him thrice by his name, and entrusted him with a message in which He rebuked Eli the Priest.  He spoke to Samuel in days where the word of the Lord was rare (1 Sam 3: 1- 14).  And how beautiful it is to read that “Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod… his mother used to make him a little robe…” (1 Sam 2 : 18, 19)


The Lord also chose Jeremiah while still in the womb to be a prophet to the nations; and when Jeremiah apologized that he was a youth, the Lord encouraged him, saying, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ … Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you … I have put My words in your mouth … I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down… to build and to plant.” (Jer 1: 7-10)  The Lord further said, encouraging him, “Behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land – against the kings of Judah,  its princes… priests, and against the people of the land.  They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you.” (Jer 1: 18,19)


 Wonderful indeed is God’s love for the young and His encouragement to them!


Imagine the amount of responsibilities and promises given to such a youth like Jeremiah whose heart the Lord knew before his birth! Truly said, “Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!” (Ps 113: 1) The Lord encourages the young and supports them in the responsibilities which seem over their level, but He puts beside them the words, “Do not be afraid.  I am with you.” As a result of such love, the young grows more than the grown up!!   


Joseph the Righteous was the youngest of his brothers, but God revealed His love to him through dreams that showed how his brother would bow down before him (Gen 37: 5-10).  Those dreams came true afterwards (Gen 42: 6), when God made young Joseph a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt (Gen 45: 8).


 And as God loved and blessed young Joseph, so also He did to David the youngest of his brothers.


Jesse the Bethlehemite presented the seven elders sons before Samuel the Prophet to anoint far the Lord the one who He might name, and he left the youngest to keep the sheep without giving him the opportunity to see that great prophet and to attend the sacrifice.  But the Lord commanded His prophet to anoint that youngest child as a king.  So Samuel anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward (1 Sam 16: 13).


 God’s love for the children is also revealed in His care for Moses and John in their childhood.


While Moses was exposed to death like all the children by the command of Pharaoh to the midwives, God sent him Pharaoh’s daughter to take him as a son and send for his mother to nurse him.  So Moses grew up and became a prophet.  The same happened to John the son of Zacharias, after being exposed to death with the other children of Bethlehem, with God’s care he lived and became greater than a prophet and than any of those born of women, and became the messenger who was to prepare the way before the Lord (Mt 11: 9 – 11).  What wonderful is that of the Lord for His children!


 God also cared for those with small talents.


Moses had little talents, and he confessed it and apologized, saying, “I am of uncircumcised lips.” “I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant.” (Ex 4: 10; 6: 30) Then, behold the uncircumcised lips become the spokesman of God. But God, in His love, chose his brother Aaron to assist him, saying, “He himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.” (Ex 4:16) So, the lack of physical talents did not prevent his being chosen!


 Not only Moses who was slow of speech and show of tongue did the Lord choose, but He also chose Leah whose eyes were delicate (Gen 29: 17). 
She also was hated by her husband Jacob who loved her sister Rachel more than he loved her, but the Lord opened her womb while Rachel was barren (Gen 29: 31).  The Lord gave Leah six sons from Jacob, besides a daughter: Dinah. Among her sons were Levi of whom priesthood descended, and Judah of whom kings descended and Christ was born.  However, when Rachel felt bad because of her being barren, the Lord had compassion upon her and she conceived and bore a son; Joseph and said, “ God has taken away my reproach (Gen 30: 22-24).


 An apparent example of God’s love for those with small talents is His choosing the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise. 


He chose the weak to put to shame the mighty, the base things and the despised things to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor 1: 27-29).  The apostles are an example, for the majority of them were fishermen!  He also chose the shepherds to be announced by the angels of the birth of Christ (Lk 2: 8-14); and He chase Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven demons to announce the resurrection to the apostles (Mk 16: 9, 10; Jn 20: 17, 18)


God’s love lifts up the small to be great.  In His love He also cares for the mean – spirited.


Therefore the divine inspiration says, “Comfort the faint hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all,” “strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees.” (1 Thess 5: 14; Heb 12: 12) All of those God’s love and mercy support lest they fall in despair; for He is described by the words:


 “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.” (Mt 12: 20; Isa 42: 3)


He cares about the smoking flax lest it vanishes, so His grace sends a wind to kindle it.  He like wise supports the bruised reed to make it stand firm. He says, “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne!” “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.” “Enlarge the place of your tent… for you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.” (Isa 54: 1-7)


 He describes His mission, saying, “The Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isa 61: 1)


Someone would say: who am I to put myself amidst God’s holy men? We say to this person: put yourself then with the feeble knees, the smoking flax and the brokenhearted.  For indeed no one is forgotten by God, whether small, poor, broken… etc. He is the hope of those who have no hope and the harbor of those in the storm.  When Peter felt mean-spirited after denying the Lord and he wept bitterly, the Lord comforted him (Mt 26: 75). He appeared to him after the resurrection and encouraged him, saying: “Feed My sheep, feed My lambs.” (Jn 21: 15-17).


 The Lord appeared to our father Jacob while afraid of his brother Esau, and He comforted him, strengthened him, and blessed him (Gen 28: 32).


 God in His love cares for those in mean positions.


He cared for Ruth the Moabite who was a foreign widow and of no standing at all.  He gave her favor in the eyes of Boaz and became a grandmother to David the Prophet.  A Book of the Old Testament carried her name, and her name was also included in the genealogy Christ (Mt 1). Rahab the harlot with the Lord’s care, after her repentance and believing, joined the genealogy of the Lord.  St. Paul counted her among those famous for their faith (Heb 11: 31), and Joshua recorded her name and promised her and her household safety (Josh 2: 1-19).


 As the Lord cared for Ruth and Rahab, He also gave Gideon a good standing.


When the Lord called Gideon to do salvation to His people through him, Gideon felt mean and said, “Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judg 6: 15).  But the Lord strengthened his faith by certain signs, and realized through him a great victory.  He then became a judge and his name was entered on the Book of Judges (Judg 6 – 8).  St. Paul wrote his name among the heroes of faith (Heb. 11: 32) in spite of his being of the weakest clan in Manasseh!


 See also Bethlehem, the small village in Manasseh:  


In spite of its smallness and non-importance, the Lord addressed her, saying, “But you, Bethlehem … are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.” (Mt 2: 6) Then Bethlehem became the city of David the Prophet, and the city where the Lord Christ was born and which was given a great blessing which great cities and capitals had not attained.  He cared for His people and called them the little flock, saying to them, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Lk 12: 32)  It is this little flock which perhaps will enter, because the door leading to eternal life is narrow and little are those who find it (Mt 7: 14).


I would like to speak more about God’s care for the little things, but there is no space for it in this article to the next article – God willing. 

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