Key Scripture –“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3 : 17-19)
Key Thought – “it is one thing to hear a promise but it is another thing completely transforming when we experience the promise.”
The magnitude of God’s goodness is something that God desperately tried to make his children understand. His interaction with us was always to demonstrate to us the importance of connecting with him in body, soul and spirit. This is evident in dramatic intervention in the life of Abraham. In Genesis God had promised Abraham the land of Canaan for his home. Abraham gave Lot his nephew a choice of this land and Lot chose the best land, or more precisely, the land that was more pleasing to his eyes. Abraham was left with remainder of the land and God then told Abraham to do something quite extraordinary:
“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” – Genesis 3:14 – 17 (NKJV)
At first it is easy to over look over the importance of these verses, but within this passage is one of the keys to understanding Abraham’s confidence in God’s word to him. For God knew that if Abraham experienced the promise it would fully persuade his mind and his heart that he would keep his word.
The advice to “Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width” is unlocking the door of faith into a heart centred trust in all God has promised. Because it is one thing to hear a promise but it is another thing completely transforming when we experience the promise.
Abraham needed to cement the promise of God into his heart and so with every step he took little by little the promise became reality. He was able to feel the soil beneath his feet, he could smell the sweet aroma of the flowers, touch the rich grass, run each grain of sand through his fingers. He could pick, eat and taste the ripe fruit hanging from the trees; he could see the rich abundance of the land and look from mountain tops and marvel at God’s goodness. With each step his soul would have been captivated and assured that God was faithful and completely trustworthy.
To put it this way, the experience was so powerful to Abraham that when he shut his eyes he could recall and picture the wonder and beauty of the Promised Land. How did he know the fruit of the land was good? Is it because he was told it? Partly, but it was because he ate it, he could close his eyes and imagine its sweet taste.
In real life it is important to mix our response to God’s promises with the realisation in our lives of all he has given us. Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus understood this, and his prayer was a heartfelt conviction that every believer need to know and experience the love of God.
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3 : 17-19)
In these remarkable lines, we hear the desire of God; we start to understand the purpose of creation, that we would be able to comprehend the width, length, depth and height of the love of God. That our experience of the love of God would mirror Abraham’s experience of the Promised Land and that we like him would know in our hearts the cosmic transforming love of the father.
The realisation of God’s love is the acknowledgement in our hearts of God’s commitment to us and our loving response to his embrace.