Responding To Love
A bride stands beside her soon-to-be husband in front of their pastor, families, and friends. She turns to her beloved and says, “I love you so much!” He responds with, “Thank you.” This is not the response she expected and certainly not the response she desired to hear, especially on her wedding day. What a strange way to respond to love!
God is love. He does not have love; He is love. He doesn’t order a couple weeks’ worth supply of love from the “love warehouse”; He can’t run out of love. This is one of the unchanging attributes of God: “For I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal. 3:6).
With many, love is limited to verbal expressions. They say, “I love you,” but seldom demonstrate it. That is not the case with God. From the beginning to this very moment, God has been pouring out His love, grace, and mercy upon His creation. Yes, there have been times when the holiness of God demanded that the evil works of man be judged, but it is always after giving him an opportunity to repent.
The Greatest Expression Of Love
The greatest expression of God’s love is the fulfilment of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Of course, this happened over two thousand years ago on a rugged cross. Christ expressed God’s love for us coming as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. The writer of Hebrews said it well, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). The joy spoken here refers to the joy of seeing His children worshipping around the Father’s throne.
Hosea: The Prophet Of Love Rejected
The book of Hosea demonstrates Israel’s refusal to respond to God’s love. Hosea, an anointed prophet of God, was commanded to marry a harlot who would prove to be unfaithful to her husband. His life was His message. The pain of unreturned love, rejection, and betrayal all mirror Israel’s relationship with God. Gomer lived a life of adultery, yet Hosea still loved her. He supplied her with food, gold, and silver. She refused to acknowledge Hosea as her provider. Hosea 2:8 says, “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.”
Destitute and abandoned by her “lovers,” Gomer ended up on the auction block. Hosea saw a woman void of beauty. Yet he redeems her for himself. It is interesting to note that even after such a gracious expression of love, there is no mention of her ever expressing love or gratitude to Hosea. From chapters four to fourteen, Hosea speaks of Israel’s sin, God’s love, and His desire to redeem Israel. Israel did not respond to God’s love.
Respond, Respond, Respond
Christians, of all people, should live their lives as a response to God’s love. Sinners, saved by grace, should acknowledge and respond daily to the great gift of love God has and continues to express to us. I John 3:1 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
Won’t you respond today to God’s love?