Revelation 2:4 You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember from where you have fallen. Repent! and do the works you did at first.”
- Deuteronomy 4
- Isaiah 31
- Psalm 84
- Revelation 2
First love… How did you act when you were first “in love?” We can do crazy things. No one has to tell us, “you really should do… if you want him/her to know that you love him/her.” There is no thought for “these are the 10 things (commandments) I have to do in order to please this person and show him/her that I love them.” When we are “in love” we just WANT TO do everything we can to please and make that person happy.
In Rev 2:3-4 God says of the church in Ephesus, you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and have not grown weary… but you have abandoned the love you had at first.
We can understand “love” when we talk about it in the context of human relationships. But, for some reason when it comes to our relationship with God, when we talk about obedience, we see obedience as something we do, or something that we are told to do, in order to earn God’s love. But, that is not why God gives us his commands to obey. Because he loves us, he provides for us in every way. He orchestrates the events in our lives for our good and for the honor and glory of His name. Our obedience should be out of gratitude and utter trust that He loves us.
I love what God says to Israel in Deut 4:34-40 “Has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation… by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord did for you in Egypt, BEFORE YOUR EYES. He did that for you, that you might know that the Lord is God, there is no other besides him.
“Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. On earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them (that’s you) and brought them out of Egypt with his own presence and his great power… know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statues and his commandments… that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land. “
I think one of the reason God tells this story so many times throughout scripture is to illustrate that God loves us just as much and longs for us to know he has gone to the same lengths to show his love to us!
Paul quotes these very words in Eph 6:1-3, in his instruction children to obey their parents. He petitions children to obey their parents, not because children need to earn their parents love. Children are to obey their parents so that life will go well with them, and in order to preserve their life. How does obedience help life to go well and prolong the life of a child? Well, if a child does not obey mom and dad when they say, “Stop, don’t run out in front of that car..” Their life will be cut short! It’s the same principle with us! God’s “rules” are there for our safety and they are there BECAUSE God loves us!
If we can just learn to have the perspective David had when he wrote the words of Psalm 86:8-13; “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. You are great, and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks with my whole heart and I glorify your name. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. ..you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
God’s challenge to the church in Ephesus is a great challenge to us. Rev 2:5 God says, “Remember from where you have fallen.” Remember the days when you first got saved. Just like the early days of dating. You were so in love. You were so excited about what you were learning about God and God’s love for you! Remember that? Remember what that was like? “Repent! and do the works you did at first.”
- There is no other God like my God! He loves me with a steadfast, unending, all encompassing love!
- His commands are not over bearing rules to be complied to, they are a fence, a barrier of safety that when I choose to live according to them, I will enjoy a long life and life will go well.
God loves me so much that He gave up His own Son for me! I should be forever grateful and want to do everything I can to love him in return