God’s Longsuffering Love
Malachi 1:2 – “I have loved you,” says the Lord.
Looking back over the previous 11 prophets, we see each one starting with words of caution, words of complaint and words of command, along with judgement, anger and accusation. The oracle of Malachi, however, opens with a declaration of love. It is a love that has run from times past to future times. This is God’s love for his people – an always-has-been, always-will-be love.
Still, the people question, “How have you loved us?” My immediate reaction to reading this was, ‘Really? You need ask ‘how’ the Lord has loved you?’ These people, whom God had rescued, fed, protected, blessed and given everything to, questioned God’s love. Granted, previous generations had spent time in captivity under cruel circumstance but they brought that upon themselves and were given every opportunity to avoid it. All they had to do was love God. Instead, they became a complaining, woe-is-me, we’ll do it our own way, people.
No matter what God gave, they wanted more. When God said he would do something, they wanted it done that instant. Everything around them vied for their attention and usually got it. They were tired of the rules and regulations and saw the freedom of the nations surrounding them whose gods didn’t rebuke and discipline them. If fact, those gods didn’t say anything at all; they left their people in peace and they seemed to be prospering just fine! What a delusion. That is what the devil is good at and bit by bit he reeled the Israelites in and convinced them to reject God’s ways. In spite of all of that, “I have loved you,” says the Lord.
Like the Israelites, we can fall into the trap of judging God’s love and goodness by our current circumstances. If everything is going well, God’s good, but if times are difficult, we question his concern. God loves you – all the time. Through his word he tells us, ‘I have loved you; I do love you; I will love you eternally.’ We love because he first loved us (1John4:19). Our love is conditional, His is not. The Lord shows his love for us is so many ways; think of his goodness, think of his grace, think of his blessings.
Count your blessings name them one by one, Count your blessings see what God has done; Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.