“’I have always loved you,’ says the Lord.” – Malachi 1:2
The love of God toward us is an amazing thing. To think that a holy, perfect God would love a sin-ridden and rebellious people who continually turn from him is almost unfathomable. Yet that is exactly who he is and what he has done. The pages of scripture are full of references to God’s unconditional, sacrificial, and eternal love toward his people. In Malachi 1:2, God again confirms this love toward his covenant people. Their response, however is very disturbing. They look at him and say, “Really? How have you loved us?” Let me put this in perspective.
If you are a parent, you understand the love you have for your children. It is displayed in a thousand ways throughout your child’s life. You bring them home, care or them, feed them, clothe them; responding to their every need and cry. You protect them, teach them, and nurture them as they grow. You take them to t-ball games, dance recitals, and hundreds of other activities, all the while doing your best to show your love for them. Then imagine if one day, when they are grown you look at them and say, “Oh, how I have always loved you.” Their response isn’t “I know” but instead is “Really? How have you loved me?” Imagine the hurt that would cause. I have to believe that God feels the same way, yet what he does in the pages of Malachi is to again confirm his love.
He does it in three ways that I think will help us when we are tempted to doubt God’s love for us. First, he shows them his past love. He reminds them that they are a chosen people according to his grace and we need to remember that. Being called to salvation is a picture of God’s redeeming love because it is not deserved or earned, it is freely given. Remember John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave…” Second, he reminds them of his future love. Our eternity and future is secured through faith in Jesus. Remember, “Whoever believes in him [Jesus] will not perish but have eternal life.” Christ is coming and our eternal security is just that, secure. Finally, he reminds them of his love in the present. The fact that he is still with us, reminding us, encouraging us, and disciplining us is proof of his love.
The cross is the picture of this love. When you want to doubt, remember the cross. It is the ultimate display of God’s love. He has given us his best and if he has given us Jesus, remember he will also “give us everything else.” (Romans 8:32 NLT) God looks at you today as his child and says, “I have always loved you” and he means it.
For His glory and your joy,