SOMEBODY TO LOVE
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
The verse sounds so good I’d like to put in in my wedding vow!
But let’s put the verse in context. What is GOD saying here?
You have to understand that verse 3 sits in between chapters of PAIN and chapters of PROMISES.
PAIN of a Father Dishonored – Offenses committed against Him since Exodus
PAIN of a People Scorned – Disciplining, facing God’s wrath for poor choices made
PROMISE of Redemption and Restoration – mournings into joy, rebuilding of their cities
PROMISE of a New Covenant – Forgiveness (I will remember their sins no more)
This to me is the perfect place to find LOVE. The love that sits in between pain or suffering and blessings or promises. It’s sandwiched by forgiveness and hope, and the wonder of it all is that it is constant and unwavering.
In between these things is a statement we all need to embrace:
The Bible has a lot to say about who GOD is: In Genesis He is the Creator. He is the Life Giver.
In Exodus He is the Great Deliverer. He parts waters and sets plagues over the enemies of His people.
In the rest of the Pentateuch, He is the Holy One.
In Joshua He is the Conqueror.
In Samuel He is the King Selector.
In the Psalms He is the Shepherd, the Refuge, the Strength.
In The Prophets, He is the Sovereign God.
In the Gospels He is the Son sent to redeem the world from its sins.
In Acts He is the Holy Spirit, empowering a group of believers so they could change the world.
In Paul’s letters He is the God that sustains, that breaks prison cells, sets captives free, sustains and empowers, provides favor and grace. In Revelation, He is the Coming King, the Alpha, Omega, Beginning, End.
But in Exodus 34 He gives a crisp description of who He really is: He is loving and just.
This GOD is saying He has loved you with an everlasting love!
HAVE LOVED YOU: Present perfect tense
WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE: the quality of love being given
Both mixed together to capture the constancy of LOVE, and that because it is everlasting, it’s there “even if the comforts of it are suspended” (Matthew Henry Commentary).
But all that you heard was just the REASON for the next statement. He says THEREFORE!
It’s because of His nature and the nature of His love that we see light in the seconds part of the verse:
I HAVE CONTINUED MY FAITHFULNESS TO YOU.
The perfect embodiment of which is His New Covenant [v31]. We are a failure. We are an unworthy bunch, living lives that fall short of the glory of God and no one is perfect not even one. Even Job the blameless man fell into pride as He was appealing to God! To understand LOVE we need to see it as it is being given to us — we are unworthy, but we are loved.
When all other covenants failed men, it definitely did not fail GOD. These covenants were predecessors only of the great covenant — when He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus speaks in the Gospel of JOHN, There’s no greater love than this! John himself later on wrote, in this is love, not that we loved GOD but that HE LOVED US [1 John 4:10].
Application: SPEAK AND HEAR HIS LANGUAGE OF LOVE.
You see, we try to look for love in all the wrong places, and look for it in the wrong ways or languages.
We do that because we do not KNOW LOVE. Ravi Zacharias said, the effect of sin is best manifested not in wars or bodily defacements, but in unworthy loves. Not wrong loves, but unworthy loves. We do not know what we are looking for! We find ourselves scurrying, searching, hunting for love, and it is not wrong, but that without a clear understanding of HIS love none of the loves in this world will be enough. It will leave you yearning for more and you will never be satisfied.
Before searching for your love, let God’s love find you. and keep you. and change you.
Before speaking your love in whatever language you are empowered and enabled to do so, listen to His love.
His language is the loudest form you can ever encounter.
HEAR HIS LOVE. Allow Him to pursue you.
SPEAK HIS LOVE. Allow His love to transform you.
Francis Thompsons’ famous poem The Hound of Heaven perfectly describes this love that pursues us. He pursues by his divine grace those upon whom he bestows his love. If you run, he will chase you. He will pursue you.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
AND ENDS WITH:
‘Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught’ (He said),
‘And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited— Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’
The challenge is not to find someone that fits.
The real challenge, we’ll find in our hearts.
Are we fully surrendered to the EVERLASTING LOVE God has been loving us with?
Two things I want for all of us to take in:
If you have been found by GOD, and you have a relationship with Him,
let HIM love you and change you from the inside out.
Let His faithfulness take you to transformation, to freedom.
Let Him take over the other parts of your heart that are holding on to unworthy loves.
If you haven’t encountered the reality of GOD in your life,
let HIS everlasting love find you tonight.
Let it sweep you off your feet, let it satisfy your longing for love.
Look at the cross for when you ask yourself and doubt if you truly know love,
there you’ll see LOVE’s perfect embodiment…
Christ Jesus, laying His life down for His sheep.
That’s how far He got to where you are.
The question is are you going to love Him back?