2008-02-09 - God's Love
Malachi 1:2, "I have loved you," says the Lord.
What an amazing statement. Just standing by itself it should stop us in our tracks. But we have just started in this consideration. We need to consider the rest of the chapter. We learn in Malachi chapter 1 that Israel was very unfaithful to the Lord. The offerings and sacrifices they brought to the Lord were polluted. They were to bring the best of the flock for their sacrifices to the Lord. God had blessed them with good things and they were to give back to Him offerings that were unblemished. But we read after this statement that the Israelites were bringing before God the lame, injured, and sick from the flock for their offerings. The best, which they should have offered to God, they kept for themselves. They offered to Him those that were about to die anyway. They kept the form of the ordinance of the Lord, but denied the spirit it was designed to reflect. They offered to God the worst they had, and yet what do we read at the outset? The Lord says, "I have loved you."
Unrequited love is sad. What a strange thing it is when the God who gives sustaining graces, pleasant rains to replenish the earth, clean air to His creation, and countless mercies, should love and not be loved in return. This is, however, what we see in this passage. The people are rebellious. They have forsaken this love, and despised God's name (Malachi 1:6). Even the priests have done this. These people were unlovable. Yet God loves them. His love is more than pity. It is not that He feels sorry for this rebellious people, but their rebellion causes Him grief because He loves them. Consider the kindness of this great God we serve. Is there a King like Him? Is there a love to which we can compare His love? He loves the unlovable. He loves us.
We see this in other places in Scripture also. We read of God's love for His people in Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness." It is a great love. Is there a greater love than an everlasting love? How could there be? Love is the springboard of all God's gracious care of His people. His love is His motivation. But there is more. He doesn't love us because there is anything particularly lovable about us (Deuteronomy 7:7, 8). We see that He loves His people because, and it gets no simpler than this, He loves because He loves. His love is the reason for His love. He needs no other reason to love us. He loves us because He would love us. He chooses to love us. We are rebellious types, and there is no reason why a holy God should love us. He loves us because He is pleased to do so. "For the Lord delights in you," Isaiah 62:4. Is this not a melting thought? We know our sin. We know our hearts. Yet, the Father loves us. He loves us for His Son. He loves us for nothing but His pleasure. How privileged is the Child of God. We can only stand back and wonder at God's loving love.
Soli Deo Gloria,