Week of March 25
By Skip Heitzig
Have you ever heard people say, “The God of the Old Testament is a God of hatred and vengeance, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love”? When I hear that, I want to ask, “Have you ever read it?”
In the final book of the Old Testament, God’s last words to His people (prior to sending His Son) are “I love you.” Look at Malachi 1:2. “‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’” God is saying, “Don’t you know? I love you!” And they’re arguing, “Prove it!”
This was the root of all of Israel’s problems, the failure to believe in the love of God. Actually, I think that’s perhaps the root of all our problems, too.
In the garden, Satan suggested to Eve that she doubt God’s love. She said, “We can eat of every tree, but we can’t eat of that tree. That’s what God said.” Satan said, “Really? Did God say that?” Then he said, “Look, God knows that in the day you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened. You’re going to be just like God!” So now a seed is planted in her heart, as if to question God and say, “Hmm... Why would God hide that from me? He must not love me.” In questioning the love of God, Adam and Eve fell.
Satan wants you to feel neglected by God. And that is why in your darkest hour he’ll come to you and say, “Look at you in your tough situation! You’ve been praying, and God hasn’t answered you! He must not love you as much as He loves those other people, because He’s answered their prayers! But not yours!” And the natural reaction is to say, “Yeah, that’s right!”
That’s why Jude said, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (v. 21). How do you do that? Get the truth about God from the Word of God, not from your feelings. And you can find the love of God in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. It’s everywhere. Here’s one verse: “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’” (Jeremiah 31:3). Here’s another: “The Lord your God loves you” (Deuteronomy 23:5).
Again and again, God is described as “abounding in love.” It’s in Exodus, it’s in Nehemiah and the Psalms. “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).
And that’s only a smattering. When you look for the love of God, you’ll find it everywhere. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. And He’s a God of love. He’s proved it!
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