The Greatest LoveApril 20, 2021 - 12:00 am
“In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” — Leviticus 16:16
Each week in synagogue or at home, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is a double reading, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, from Leviticus 16:1—20:27. Acharei Mot means death, and Kedoshim means holy.
I don’t think I ever fully understood God’s love for His children until I had children of my own. My baby could be crying in the middle of the night in need of a diaper change, a complete mess, with a bad smell, and my heart would still overflow with love. My child could come home from school completely dirty and with a note from the teacher that he misbehaved that day, and my love for him would be no less.
If my love as human being for my children could be so unconditional and intense, how much more so is God’s love for us? We truly cannot comprehend it.
And yet, too many people distance themselves from God when they have sinned because they think God has turned away from them. But nothing could be further from the truth. God never leaves us, no matter how badly we mess up. Moreover, He will clean up our mess and make us new again when we turn to Him in sincere repentance.
In this week’s Torah portion, we read: “In this way he will make atonement …He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” This verse teaches us that God’s glory rested in the midst of the people even when they were in a state of uncleanness, tainted by their sins. No matter what kind of mess the people were in, God would still be among them, just waiting for them to reach out and repent.
So many people fall into the spiritual pitfall of thinking that God is mad at them and that the relationship is permanently damaged when they have sinned. Or that God will not love them until they are absolutely perfect. But, while God may hold us accountable and even punish us at times, He is always with us and loving us. He is ready to cleanse us and embrace us, as soon as we are ready to re-embrace Him.
As the psalmist so beautifully reminds us, “as far as the east is from the west,so far has he removed our transgressionsfrom us” (Psalm 103:12).
Your turn: Remember the greatest love that you ever felt for another person and know that God’s love for you infinitely greater. How can you respond to such love? Share your answer in the comment section below.