Love

I will tell of the LORD’s unfailing love.
I will praise the LORD for all he has done..
I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel,.
which he has granted according to his mercy and love..
He said, “They are my very own people..
Surely they will not betray me again.”.
And he became their Savior..
In all their suffering he also suffered,.
and he personally rescued them..
In his love and mercy he redeemed them..
He lifted them up and carried them.
through all the years..
But they rebelled against him.
and grieved his Holy Spirit..
So he became their enemy.
and fought against them..
Then they remembered those days of old.
when Moses led his people out of Egypt..
They cried out, “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea,.
with Moses as their shepherd?.
Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit.
to be among his people?” (Isaiah 63:7-1)

Surely they won’t betray again. This time they can be trusted. God is love. According to Paul’s definition of love, “love always trusts” and “always hopes.” That was reflected in what God said to his people: surely this time. Peter asked how often he should forgive when his brother asked for forgiveness. Jesus’ answer was: endlessly, because that’s how it is with God. He endlessly forgives, he endlessly hopes, he endlessly wills to extend mercy.

Love seems unreasonable. The abused child, the beaten wife, the kicked dog, willingly return to the one who hurt them, hoping against hope that this time will be different. How foolish, how dangerous it appears to those of us outside watching it. But that’s just what love is like—what real love will tolerate. God’s love is real love: he gave himself when we were his enemies. He forgives repeat offenders. He paid all our debts and didn’t take away our credit card even as we try to rack up more—and he has forgiven it all—in perpetuity and forever. We can’t max out God’s credit card. That bill is always paid in full.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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