The Lord’s Love for Israel
Open Your Bible
Malachi 1:1-5, Acts 20:32-35, Romans 9:6-21
I am indescribably lucky to have the friends that I do. Describing us as “friends” seems too weak, in fact. We’ve been friends since college, and some of us since middle school and even earlier. We are in each other’s lives daily: in the good and bad, the clear and the messy, and everything in between. There are almost twenty of us, married couples and singles, brothers and sisters, roommates and travel buddies. We float in between one other’s homes, dropping our kids and our stuff here and there. We’ve swapped house keys and life stories, and we hold them both with the fiercest grip we can.
I think what makes this particularly strong group of friends so secure is not that we all think the same way or like the same things. We don’t. And it’s not that we root for the same teams or go to the same churches, or laugh at the same jokes. What makes us us is our history, the steadfast faithfulness of friends that have linked arms and stood down the hardest—and celebrated the best—of what this world has to offer.
When I read the first verses of the book of Malachi, I think about my friends and our history. (Malachi is a book of prophetic satire, written in the form of questions-and-answers between the Lord and His people.) When the Lord says, “I have loved you,” and the people scoff back, the Lord reminds them what it means to be loved by Him.
Being loved by God didn’t mean that the people always followed Him. It didn’t mean that He didn’t follow through with His promise to exile them when they turned away (see Deuteronomy 30:4–6). Being loved by God didn’t mean everything would always go right, but it did mean that He would bless them because of the promises He made to Abraham and Jacob (Romans 9:6–13).
Malachi contrasts their fate with Edom’s, the group descended from Esau, who was not chosen by the Lord in the same way Israel was. Edom would be destroyed completely. Israel had felt destruction during the exile, but had been restored.
The opening disputation of Malachi (there are six that we will read this week) is a reminder, a wake up call to a lackadaisical people. They are loved, have been loved, and will be loved by the Lord. Forever.
When we look to the grand narrative of the Bible, we see the continued faithfulness of the Lord to His people. In the Old Testament, it is to His chosen people in Israel, the sons and daughters of Jacob. In the New Testament, Jesus brings the message of hope and restoration to all people, Israelite or not. My faith finds its footing in these stories, in the reminders of the book of Malachi and in the testimonies of God’s steadfast faithfulness throughout Scripture and history. I am loved, I have been loved, and I will be loved—forever.