The Dead Sea reflects the idea that we were meant to overflow with God’s love. We often associate water with life. Many cities are built by rivers, lakes, and other areas where water can be found to support the population. Every time, however, where there is a body of water with no outlet, like the Dead Sea, we find a lack of life in it and around it. How can we become people who have springs of living water bursting out of us?
Time alone with the Lord can be powerful. I remember one summer in which I spent a significant amount of time with other believers, serving the Lord together. We decided that once a week, in the evening, we would each have an extended quiet time with God. For me this typically was about two hours, which was always very refreshing and encouraging. Two of my quiet times that summer were life changing.
One evening in particular, I was reading through Deuteronomy. I was quite committed to reading through the book, but before I could really dig deep into it I felt that God was communicating that I just needed to stop. I was a bit confused, not knowing what to do exactly, but I did stop reading. Then God shared with me by His Spirit that He wanted to love me. Instead of me spending this evening intensively reading through Deuteronomy or any other book, God wanted me to stop and let Him work. He wanted me to meet with Him and experience Him.
That quiet time is the favorite quiet time I have ever had with God and it was by far the most unusual. I pretty much did nothing except positioned myself to receive God’s love. After an extended period of this, I felt led to open the Bible back up, but this time to 1 John. I really had a desire to read about love. Then God made it all clear.
From a son of thunder to an apostle of love
John is known in the gospels for a few things. He, along with James and Simon Peter, were the disciples closest to Yeshua. He and James earned the nickname “The Sons of Thunder” likely because of their bold and rash ideas. They once asked Yeshua if they should call down fire from heaven upon a village that didn’t receive Him. They also had their mother ask Yeshua if they could be seated at His right and left in His kingdom.
Yet this same son of thunder is known as the apostle of love. He refers to himself in the Gospel of John only as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John’s life was transformed by the love of Yeshua and we see that in all his writings, he wants to clearly emphasize how great and important this love is. He writes in 1 John 3:1: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Later on in verse 11 he begins to emphasize our need to love one another, the command that Yeshua gave His disciples while celebrating Passover the night before he died.
“We love because He first loved us”
1 John 4:7-21 is an incredible passage about love and this is what God directed me to at the end of my quiet time that one evening. John repeats again and again the need to love one another, but makes it clear that “we love because He first loved us.” Those words were filled with more meaning than ever before as I read them that evening. God had just filled me with His love, one of the most amazing (if not the most amazing) experiences of my life and I understood why. He called me to “love one another”, something only possible when filled with His love.
Being filled with the love of God is incredible. The rest of that summer, I was regularly compelled to love others and do things I wouldn’t normally have done. I was seeking others out and spending quality time with them, trying to see if I could bless them in some way. I was so filled with His love that I couldn’t contain it. One simple analogy I am reminded of is a glass that is filled to overflowing.
When we are filled with God’s love, He doesn’t simply fill us, but He fills us to overflowing, so that His love pours out of us. If we tried to contain His love, it would cause us great pain because sharing His love with others gives us such great joy. God’s love and blessing was never meant to be contained and kept by any individual or group, but always to be used as a blessing to others, that they might know God as well.
The example of the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea (or Salt Sea) is the lowest point on the face of the earth. It is located 423 meters (or 1,388 feet) below sea level. It primarily receives water from the Jordan River, though during the rainy season it can collect water from streams that flow into it. Because it is located at the lowest point on earth, no water flows out of the sea. Water escapes through evaporation and the result is a body of water over 8 times saltier than the ocean. Its name, the Dead Sea, reflects that fact that there is very little life in and around the sea, except for the many tourists that frequent its beaches.
The Dead Sea reflects the idea that we were meant to overflow with God’s love. We often associate water with life. Many cities are built by rivers, lakes, and other areas where water can be found to support the population. Every time, however, where there is a body of water like the Dead Sea, we find a lack of life in it and around it.
When God filled me to overflowing with His love, my desire was genuinely to spread that love to others. The thought of keeping it for myself was absurd. How could I? It was too great for me to keep without sharing. I felt like I would burst if I didn’t have a way of sharing His love. However, I also know that if I tried to keep it in, if such a thing was possible, this very love would be spoiled and no longer produce life in me. I would end up much like the Dead Sea if I tried to bottle God’s love.
God’s agape love is by nature unselfish. It does not seek its own gain and it isn’t given so as to gain a benefit. When God pours this love into us by His Spirit, it has the same impact in our lives. We don’t desire to use it for our own gain because we also desire to share this blessing, but if we did try we would find that we couldn’t exploit God’s love for our selfish gain.
Blessed to be a blessing
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.” ~ Genesis 12:2-3
Israel was always meant to be a blessing. The Lord has undoubtedly blessed a great many through Israel, especially through Yeshua. At the same time, we are confident that God will continue to use Israel as a blessing. We are looking forward to the 144,000 that God will raise up from Israel not just to bring into a relationship with Himself, but to send to the multitudes that do not know God.
Please pray with us that God would be raising up Israelis both to serve God in Israel and abroad:
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” ~ Philippians 2:10-11