God’s Great Love For You
It’s Valentines Day. Love is in the air. Hallmark is making enough money to keep it afloat for another few months and every restaurant in town is booked. This is a day for candy, flowers, and love letters. It is good and right to reflect on the love we share with others. What a wonderful gift the Lord has given us of companionship and care for other people.
We should not forget in all of this, though, that God is the real lover of our souls. He cares for us better than anyone on earth can. He is worthy of our undying, yet imperfect, love in ways no human is deserving of it. The book of Zephaniah is one of the many places in the Bible where God’s lavish and unbounded love for his people is on full display. The book is written to Judah around 600 BC. Israel had already been taken into exile around 722 BC for their sins. However, Judah’s exile was still forthcoming. Despite seeing their northern brother’s and sister’s punishment, Judah continued in rampant sin. This is clear from the beginning in Zephaniah 1:2 – “I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth.” Wow! The Lord goes on to pronounce judgement on Judah including such lines as, “Their blood shall be poured out like dust.” Not very loving, huh? God then goes on to pronounce judgement on the nations surrounding Israel, many of whom the Lord already defeated in the Exodus. This is as if to say, “I already defeated these guys once for you…now I have to do it again?!?” Again, not very loving, right? Wrong.
The Lord does all these things because of His great love for Judah. He relents and does not bring the full measure of judgement on Judah. As the story goes, the faithful remnant is allowed to return to Jerusalem after the exile. The Lord does not sweep everything from the face of the earth (just some stuff). All of this shows God’s great love. However, nothing shows this better than Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” In the midst of punishment, the Lord does it for the sake of his great love for his people. One of my favorite sayings from one of my seminary professors is that, “We sing about what is most true about us.” One of the things that is most true about God is his great love for his people. This is why he sings. This is why he saves. This is why he quiets us with his love.
So as you eat chocolate and smell roses today know that those around you love and adore you. Know also that the Lord loves his people more. He has loved his people for thousands of years and continues to do so today. Rest in his love and care for you today.