Greatly Loved

Raymond Elliott

The Bible is replete with the names of persons who found favor in the sight of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Here are just a few names: We read in Genesis 5:23, 24, that Enoch “went up by a whirlwind into heaven”; and, Elijah “went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11). Thus these two men of God did not die as mentioned in Hebrews 9:27. Abraham trusted in God inasmuch he was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18). The writer of the book of Hebrews (11:17); and, James in his epistle (2:21), declared that in God’s sight, he did offer up his son. Abraham was truly a “friend of God” (2:23). Before the prophet Jeremiah was born, the Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). The angel announced that Mary, who “was betrothed to Joseph,” would “bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20, 21). The apostle John, was, without doubt, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26). It is written that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Martha) and Lazarus” (John 11:5, 36).

There were five men mentioned in the Old Testament who had endeared themselves to God. They were Moses, Samuel (Jeremiah 15:1), Noah, Daniel and Job (Ezekiel 14:14, 16, 18, 19). The Lord said that if these men stood before Him, and prayed to Him on the behalf of the children of Israel, His people would not be spared because of the depth and darkness of their sin and rebellious ways. These godly men “would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

Among the five men previously mentioned by the Lord, I want to observe an expression used about Daniel. In Daniel 9:20-23, while Daniel was praying on the behalf of his people, Gabriel, spoke to him, saying, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved... “ This expression, “greatly loved,” regarding Daniel is used again in Daniel 10:11, 19. In the Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible on this passage, we read, “and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; or, “art desires” (p); all desire, exceedingly desired; very lovely, amiable, and delightful, in the sight of God, and all good men: or, “that thou art greatly beloved” (q); thus the angel came from God, out of heaven, to show it to him, to make it appear that he was highly in the favour of God, in that he made known his secrets to him” How wonderful that such an expression should be used for any child of God!

Though our names are not found in the Word of God, we can know with all assurance they are written in the “book of life” (Revelation 3:5: 21:27), provided we have been saved by the grace of God and the blood of His son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Ephesians 1:7). In John 3:16-17, we learn that He loves us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”. Praise be to our Heavenly Father, and the Lamb of God, by whose blood we have been cleansed from our sins (Revelation 1:5)!

Dig a Hole, Fill It Up

By Barry Haynes

A man was enjoying a relaxing day in the city park when he noticed two workers. One of the workers was furiously digging a hole. The other worker would come along after the first had finished and just as furiously fill it back in. The man stared in disbelief wondering what was going on. After several moments, curiosity got the better of him and he walked up to the workers and asked why they doing something so worthless. “Worthless?” the worker quipped, “If anybody on this crew is worthless, it is the guy who plants the trees, he didn’t even show up for work!”

I wonder if this isn’t what happens in the church. Many are working hard but it seems in vain. The real problem lies not in them but in others that are not doing their job. When one part is not performing its function it causes the whole to be less productive. It’s what we read in 1st Corinthians 12 when Paul compares the body of Christ to the human body. Each part must perform its function for the body to be productive. Is the church working aimlessly because you are not there to help?