December 16: I Have Loved You

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Malachi 4

Assyria and Babylon swept through the Promised Land and carried the people of God into captivity.  They consumed Israel’s resources and destroyed their cities.  They killed their livestock and burned their homes.  They separated husbands from their wives and parents from their children.  

…Yes, they had disobeyed his Law.  Yes, they had idolatrous hearts.  But what about God’s promise to never leave them or forsake them?  Where was he in all this?  

dec 16The Lord spoke to them in an oracle, a burden, through a prophet named Malachi.

“I have loved you,” said the Lord.

But the people didn’t feel loved.  How were they supposed to reconcile this statement with their experience?  

The problem wasn’t simply that they couldn’t see God’s love.  It was that they couldn’t see themselves in an honest light either.

…Their guilt ran so deep.  Their rebellion against the Lord had come to define them.  As a nation as individuals, they had failed.  They had utterly failed, and God was judging them for it.  

But deep inside the smoldering stump of Israel, a remnant of life was rising to push back the darkness and break through the crust of the desolation of the people of God to find the light of day.

Though they struggled to see it, God loved them.  He loved them with an everlasting love.  Salvation was coming, and when all was said and done, “He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, not crying, nor pain anymore.”  [Rev 21:3-4]

“Behold,” he says, “I am making all things new.” [Rev 21:5]

Excerpt taken from Behold, the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey  (pg. 113-114,116,118-119)

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