For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:8
Rizpah isn’t a name most would recognize from the Bible (2 Samuel 22:10-14). She was a concubine of King Saul’s whose two sons were given to the Gibeonites as justice for something wrong Saul had done to them. These two, along with five other of Saul’s male descendants were executed and left outside. Rizpah, seemingly driven by deep and rooted love, guarded her two sons’ bodies against birds and wild animals for the entire harvest season, night and day. I can think of no other reason why someone would guard their sons so diligently than a love as deeply rooted as a mother’s love.
Today the word ‘love’ is tossed about for everything from a shirt or blouse to dogs to just about anything you can think of. It’s almost as if this broad use has decoupled its true meaning in the English vernacular. The depth and rootedness of the word ‘love’ has been diminished, nearly eliminated.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, demonstrates the rooted love he has for them. Before the short verse above, Paul talks of his feeling affection for the Philippians, and how appropriate his affection is. Their love for him was astounding to him, and it was the deep, rich, fertile soil in which his love was firmly rooted for the Philippians.
The love God has for us surpasses the demonstration of Rizpah’s love, and it surpasses the mutual love and affection the Philippians and Paul had for each other. Jesus, God’s only son, descended into humanity, came as a servant (Philippians 2:7) and died for us. Rizpah probably felt she approached death in her seeming never-ending protection of her sons’ bodies, but Jesus did die. Only an eternally rooted love of the deepest variety could ever prompt such a sacrifice (Ephesians 3:17-19).
As you go through your day, observe those around you, whether you know them or not, and consider God’s deeply rooted love for them. Listen closely for the Spirit’s prompting. It’s amazing to understand and witness the healing qualities of a loving look, gesture, touch, or conversation. While our current circumstances limit our ability to touch, love can be demonstrated in many ways. A spoken word with a gentle look can show those around you God’s deep, abiding love for them
By Rich Obrecht