Christmas is a season of the year when we think about surprises—parents surprising their children, children surprising their parents, friends surprising each other—but God is a God of surprises throughout the year.
God reveals Himself in Scripture as a God who loves surprises. Throughout the Old Testament, God manifests Himself in surprising ways, He chooses surprising people, He acts in surprising circumstances.
God Manifests Himself in Surprising Ways:
- A burning bush
- A whirlwind
- A bunch of dry bones
- A barren womb
God Chooses Surprising People:
- An idol worshiper
- A murderer
- A con man
- A shepherd boy
- A prostitute
God Acts in Surprising Circumstances:
- A Flood
- A Battlefield
- A Famine
- A Murder
In the New Testament, God Himself becomes the surprise. From His birth announcement, His earthly life, His horrible death, and His anticipated return, it’s one surprise after another.
His Birth Announcement Surprised:
- His mother Mary
- His father Joseph
- The shepherds
- King Herod
His Earthly Life Brought Surprising:
His Horrible Death Surprised:
- The Disciples
- The Unbelievers
- The Roman Soldiers
His Anticipated Return Will Surprise:
- The Unprepared
- The Uninformed
- The Unbeliever
How will God surprise you in 2016? It could be a way in the wilderness or a river in the desert. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19.
God will surprise you. Anticipate it. Look for it. Embrace it.
I’m not a big fan of basketball—nor do I plan to become one. As it stands right now, I’m barely able to keep up with the game of football, which is the one sport I do love. However, I do know the basics of basketball and most of the terms used in the game.
In basketball, to rebound is to gain possession of the ball after it bounces off the backboard or after an unsuccessful shot. The player grabs the ball for himself and either takes a shot or passes it off to another player.
I thought of the word rebound the other day as I was reading Psalm 103:8: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
I’m aware the word “rebound” and “abound” don’t mean the same thing. In fact, they’re nearly opposite in meaning, and that’s why I thought of rebound when I read abound.
To abound is to have something in great abundance, to be richly supplied. So, to be “abounding in steadfast love” is to possess plenty of never-failing love. That’s how the Psalmist describes God’s love for us—there’s plenty of it, in fact, there’s a never-ending supply of it.
God’s love is always abounding and never rebounding. He never takes back His love, never takes it away from us to give it to someone else. That’ why His love is labeled a “steadfast love.”
There’s also a purpose in God’s abounding love and grace toward us. Paul explains it in 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
God expects our love to be abounding toward others even as His love is abounding toward us And, like God’s love, it should always be abounding and never rebounding.
The words, “I don’t love you,” have to be the most hurtful words ever spoken. As human beings, we are born with the desire to be loved. Whether it’s romantic love, family love, brotherly love or even self love, God gave us the desire to be loved and to love God, others, and ourselves.
Love comes from God. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7).
Because human love is so flawed by sin, none of us can ever love ourselves or another human being perfectly. In the same way, until we receive our glorified, perfected bodies, we can’t love God perfectly.
God has no such hindrances. He loves perfectly. On three different occasions, the prophet Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel that he was greatly loved by God. “I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” (Daniel 9:23). The same thought is expressed in Daniel 10: 11 and Daniel 10:19.
How sweet those words must have sounded to Daniel! How would you like to hear those words for yourself? Well, you can.
Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-5: “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ.”
God’s love is on display for us in Romans 5:8.“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Like Daniel, God sent word to us that we are greatly love. He sent His Word in the form of His Son who demonstrated how much he really loved us by paying the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross
Accept His love. Bask in His Love. Know His love for all eternity.