Sunday, March 4, 2018
Read Deuteronomy 7:6-9
6“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. 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. 7It 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,8but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.9Know 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…”
As I look back on my late teens and early twenties, I see a young man who was causing a lot of pain and damaging a lot of stuff, including my dad’s little red convertible. Many I’m sure wondered how my parents put up with me. I was a question mark on my fathers otherwise impeccable reputation in our small town. Yet through all of my small and huge mistakes, the love of my father and mother was unceasing. Some would say they were naive. Maybe their were, but they were unrelenting in loving their kids, even the difficult one.
Israel was set apart (holy) for the Lord. He had chosen Israel as his treasure, not because they were special or especially good. In fact Israel would at times show themselves to have less sense and moral integrity than the pagan nations around them. So why doesn’t God just dump them. Why didn’t my parents wash their hands of a prodigal son and change the locks on the house.
This is the beauty of God’s love – it is unconditional. That is, it is not dependent on us earning it, following all the rules, or behaving better than the neighbor kids. Certainly there are 10,000 blessings in keeping within God’s boundaries and living according to his instruction. But that is not the cause or catalyst for his love.
God’s love springs from HIS covenant commitment to the ones He made in His image. He chose to set His affections upon Israel alone and then through Jesus Christ, the whole world. He gave His only Son that we might have eternal life. Not because we deserve it but because
“The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Ps 145:13);
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1Jn.4:16)
This is so beautiful and amazing – it is amazing grace. It is the love that draws prodigal sons home, it is the love that sustains the wounded, and the love that makes the broken whole again.
This is also the love that fuels our love for God and one another – when we believe it. This is the challenge – to believe in God’s love for you. To accept it without earning it. To believe He is for you without condition, even in spite of lots of negative conditions. He is for us, His love never fails and His love never ends.
Father, thank you for your love for me, my family and your Church. Help me to believe it, rest in your love, and live out of your love today. AMEN.