How Much Does God Love People?
In the book of Daniel in the Old Testament we have a record of a period of time where God’s people are in captivity in the nation of Babylon. Babylon was not a God-fearing nation and they did not follow God or His laws. The first six chapters of Daniel center on a man named Daniel and three other men from Judah, who were taken as captives to Babylon. Their names were Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-Nego. In the first six chapters God does the following things: He shows the Babylonians that His food and diet is better than theirs and He gives these four Israelites great wisdom. He uses Daniel to interpret the Babylonian king’s dream which saves the lives of every other wise man in Babylon (who could not interpret the dreams). He demonstrates His power over nature as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego are not burned up after being cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to an idol. He uses Daniel to interpret another dream for the king. He uses Daniel to read handwriting on a wall from a “floating hand” which pronounced judgment on a Babylonian king. Finally, He delivers Daniel from a den of lions in which Daniel was tossed simply for praying to God. There are interesting and important things to learn from each of these events, but after reading all of them this morning what came to my mind was how much God loves people! God did all of these miraculous things to show the Babylonians that He was the true God. He put His own people through suffering and persecution so that the Babylonians could know that He was God. And the Babylonians were the “bad guys” in the eyes of the world.
I believe God desires to use His followers today to demonstrate His love to those who do not know Him. He may not use miraculous means such as delivery from a fiery furnace or a lion’s den, but it still takes the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit for us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It still takes supernatural power to love our neighbor as ourself…doesn’t it? If you don’t think it takes supernatural power, then you’re just not doing it right! God’s love for people has not diminished since the days of Daniel. He still loves people and He still wants them to be drawn to Him…and He wants to use you and me in the process. We serve a God who loves people and who calls on His people to love others. Will we accept that challenge?