July 21 (Psalm 104:14-15)
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
and bread to give them strength. (NLT)
You do not have to like people to love them. In fact, being able to love without liking is something Christians are called to do. Remember that whole “love your enemy” bit? This is how forgiveness is possible. We love those who do us wrong, even while fully admitting that what they did was indeed wrong and that we do not like it. On the other hand, we all want to be liked, and this leads us to an important question. Does God like us? We know He loves us, a fact that was made clear for all time through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but does He actually like us?
The answer is yes, and Psalm 104 proves it. Because God loves us, He gives us what we need, but because He likes us, He goes beyond that. Bread for strength is necessary, but wine to gladden the heart? Olive oil to soothe the skin? We can live without those last two, but that is not what God wanted for us. It is true that Jesus said we are to deny ourselves and follow Him, but we often take this too far, assuming that God is a harsh taskmaster wanting nothing but Spartan soldiers as His followers.
Ponder this for a moment. God gave us wine to gladden us and olive oil to soothe our skin. He orchestrated the songs and calls of the animal kingdom to fill us with music and He painted the oceans and landscapes and the far-flung reaches of space with colors to dazzle and thrill our eyes. How, then, will it change your relationship with Him to know just how much God likes you?
Lord, You have shared with us the glories of Your imagination brought to life. First of all, thank You. I truly do thank You for the glory and wonder and spectacle and comfort and adventure that You have spread before us. Thank You for liking us enough to give us such a life now, and thank You for loving us enough to give us life everlasting with You. In the name of Jesus, through whom and for whom all things were made, amen.