Sweet Love

Deuteronomy 7:7-8

7 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, 8 but 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.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “don’t nobody love like me!”. Have you ever felt like if people would just love each other the world would be a better place. Do you follow the golden rule? We all think we know what love is. We all think we love others more than we get love back in return and feel owed love. We all have lists, both good and bad ones that we maintain daily as we give out and take back love. We all approach each day with a love meter to gauge our love quotation which is primarily based on outside factors. To say that we all don’t struggle with this is to call God a liar. A liar you say? To say it’s not true is to cast a shadow of doubt on the purpose of the cross, to ignore the stone tablets, and call the judgment in the Garden unfair. But we can say it’s not true because we tend to over spiritualize Jesus’ life, truth, and words. We water down everything into “the moral of the story” and we pick out the virtues and create lists. We say that the gospel is about forgiveness of “my sins” and “me going to heaven”. So love becomes about what others do for me and how I know I’m loved by others.

The bible starts out showing that genuine love is an action, an initiator, a fuel, and something that is outer worldly. But mostly love is a decision to commit yourself to another just for the good of another and not because of what they do or don’t do for you. Of course we will still proclaim that we do these things as we give reasons based on our unselfishness. But what I have found to be utterly painful to do is to see my actions for what they are. The culprit to my pain is God the Holy Spirit as he cuts my heart open in the illuminating of Deuteronomy chapter 7.

God the Father is addressing the newly freed Hebrews about the nature of their new found freedom and if we know anything about the golden calf, Deuteronomy chapter 8, and the victories against much larger and stronger armies; you will get a very good understanding of the minds (hearts) of the Hebrew people. You will also know the context of which and in which God speaks. Not to mention what God is about to say, its core essence is repeated over and over throughout the book of Deuteronomy, Numbers, Exodus and it’s something that the following prophets hold on to. Actually, we can see it in Galatians as well as we are encouraged not to boast in ourselves. So what is it actually? It is the bases for God’s love for his chosen people, both Jew and Gentiles. God lets the people know that it wasn’t because of their number of size as there were much bigger nations, people groups, and races. God doesn’t make his choice of loving them or us, based on our power. We might pick who to love based on the percentage of their success rate. Think about it, how often have we weighed pros and cons and went with the stronger option? God choose them and they were the fewest and weakest. God’s love doesn’t depend on external factors. We can’t say to God, “Tell me why you love me?” Because firstly we have no redeeming qualities that would make us lovable. But also that’s not love and that is not how God loves. From the very beginning the Lord has taken all the risk in these covenant of love. Meaning, we have one terms within the contract to which we cannot do to void God’s obligation to love us.

In other to expand what God is saying about why and how he loves us, we need to dig deeper into what we think are reasons to love. In Deuteronomy 9:5-6 God continues to destroy our tendency to demand “reasons for loving”. In this chapter the Lord states that all he has done for the people had nothing to do with their righteousness. To put it another way, our goodness and all the things we believe justifies our actions, thoughts, and rewards. It’s the things that we believe makes us deserving of blessings. The Lord tells them in the following verse that they are not righteous but stubborn, we refuse to love and obey God constantly as we bring his holy commands into question. So the Lord levels the playing by giving us nothing to hang our hat on. So what kind of love is this that God has for us? We are learning that we didn’t earn it and it’s not based on “reasons why “. Let’s look at another passage of scriptures to really show this type of love in a better light.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind *and* is not jealous; love does not brag *and* is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong *suffered*, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if *there are gifts of* prophecy, they will be done away; if *there are* tongues, they will cease; if *there is* knowledge, it will be done away.

 

God is not looking for reasons to love us.  He is not waiting for us to learn how to be patient or kind.  He is not waiting for us to do anything or even for us to show him patience first before he loves us.  God is not waiting for us to stop boasting and bragging before he shows one ounce of love.  God is not looking for us to stop being arrogant first.  We don’t have to fix our behavior or for us to stop being selfish and seeking our own needs first.  God is not waiting on an apology that is rightfully owed him.  His love is unattached to conditions because he knows we can’t meet the conditions and it will crush us. God is displaying the type of love needed to love God and love our neighbors.  But we would say that we can’t love like that because we are not God but we possess the same power that Jesus had to love those who nailed him to the cross, God the Holy Spirit. So what is the love of the Lord is like?

The Lord’s love for us is patient, his love is kind and does not envy but is righteously jealous for us; the Lord’s love does not brag nor is it arrogant as to lord over us might but he is humble as he died for us. The Lord’s love personified in Christ did not seek his own glory but the Father’s. This holy love was not provoked as the lamb was silent. The Lord’s love does not take into account the wrong we have done but he himself suffered the penalty of us cursing his holiness. The Lord’s love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; God’s love; Jesus Christ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things for the sake of God’s glory and Christ’s own inheritance the church.  This love who is Jesus never fails and is always faithful; but if there are gifts earned through the sacrificial love of Jesus whether of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. These things mean nothing if we don’t have love, which comes from God first. And we love like Christ because he loved us first.

“But it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers”. God chose to just love us, he made a commitment to love us to death, the death of his Son. He love for us can never change and we don’t have to earn it or justify why we should receive it. Don’t waste your time in asking the Lord “why do you love me?” Seeking to justify your existence because God sees right through that question as he simply points to the cross. Jesus has already done justifying and it was decided by the Godhead before the foundation of the world, so you never had to do anything but have faith that the love is real. What type of relationship could we ever hope to have if God made us constantly prove ourselves? It would be awful like most of our human relationships. Think of the despair, depression, pain, suffering, the let downs, and frustration of trying to please someone who can’t be pleased. Yet in God’s glorious holiness knows that we can’t, made away so we can and his name is Jesus Christ. So we are to love like Christ and that means loving like the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit can help us.

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