God LOVES His people. End of story. Period. That’s it. That’s all.
It doesn’t depend on how we behave or how much we deserve it. It is His character to love us. When He created all people, He gave them a choice. They could follow Him or not, but He has always called to our heart’s through a voice of love.
When God chose Abraham to begin His relationship story, and to bring forth His nation, He established a pattern. His people would be set apart. Peculiar. His. From the start, His call was for covenant. Hundreds of years later, when Israel was brought out of slavery from Egypt by the hand of God, He reaffirmed His great love for His people.
- “…The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, …Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, (Deuteronomy 7:6b-9 ESV)
More time passes, and now an established nation, Israel struggles to remember the God who loves them. Having David as King helped, and not just because he was a valiant warrior. He was also a poet and wrote worshipful songs that reminds God’s people to this day (that would be you and me!) of His great love and compassion. He is our Father- our Abba- and loves his people like a Father loves his family.
- Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. … forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; ... He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:1-3, 10-13 NASB)
When King David writes of God’s love, he describes it as STEADFAST. That means it is stalwart, immovable, never wavering. That sounds just like a Rock, a Fortress and a Refuge. When the Lord protects His people, it is one way He loves them.
- Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. … How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings… Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! (Psalm 36:5, 7, 10 ESV)
Skip ahead a few hundred years and Israel have not just turned from Him, they have rejected, blasphemed, and worshiped other gods. Though totally undeserving of love, THIS is the love-response from the Father.
- I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3b ESV)
Zephaniah prophesies to the two tribes left. Ten have been conquered and deported. (NOTE: love sometimes looks like discipline. A God who ignored sin forever would not be loving.) Things weren’t looking good for the people who remained in the land and stubbornly clung to their own way. Judgement was coming, but it was delivered with a promise that flowed out of a Father’s love.
- On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:16-17 ESV)
John 3:16 is perhaps the best known verse in the New Testament, but there is validity in its popularity. Jesus came to bring eternal life BECAUSE THAT is how much God loved people.
- "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)
Jesus didn’t come to bring a way to relationship with the Lord because we deserved it. Quite the opposite- he came WHEN we were dead in sin BECAUSE of His great love.
- But 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--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV)
The love with which the Lord established His people, is the same one with which He loves us. He calls us His children. He allows us to know Him.
- See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 ESV)
All of Psalm 136 is a proclamation of the Lord’s STEADFAST love, and it begins and ends with a call to thanksgiving. Let’s thank God that He has always desired relationship and calls us to be His people.
- Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:26 ESV)
- And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Jeremiah 32:38 ESV)
My Loving Lord- Thank You for Your steadfast love. Thank You, that is never changes or falters. It doesn’t change, nor does it depend on me.
You are a God who loves and reaches out to Your people. You choose us. You SET YOUR LOVE on us. And that immeasurable love reaches to the heavens. Thank You, for being an extravagant Lover of Your people.
And yet, for all that love, Your people have often faltered from loving You in return, with today’s church being no different. We love every other thing more than You and run after temporal. You have not chosen to treat us as we deserve, evidence of Your love. Forgive us Lord, Your people, Your church. May we love you in return, as a child would adore its Daddy.
Lord, I praise You for providing steadfast shelter and refuge, another proof of Your love. Because of that, we can run quickly to You and find comfort in Your arms.
Even at our weakest, You rejoice over us with gladness and quiet us with Your love. We need that so much, as we are much more likely to argue differences than love each other. Please quiet us Lord. Thank You for providing the solution for division: the covering of Your love.
You loved us so much You came as Jesus to pay for our sins. Your love sacrifices and seeks our best before Your own. Thank You feels inadequate to say for such a great gift. I am so grateful that You continue to work on our hearts. May the hearts of Your children grow together as we learn to love, in some small way, like You do.
I praise the great, steadfast love You have given us. We want to be Your people, Lord. Thank You for being our Loving God.
We sometimes focus on how much He loves us individually, which is a great gift (and we will thank Him for that tomorrow.) But today, we thanked Him for being such a wonderful Lover of us- His people, His church. Personally, I find my own love of the church grow as I contemplate our Father's love for us
Blessings on your day as you revel in the great love of our Father.
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