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.

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20 thoughts on "The Lord’s Love for Israel"

  1. Rachel Kelley says:

    Honestly, I struggled with today’s reading. It’s a hard truth for me to accept that God chooses some for good and others for dishonor. I know we all have free will and that God has a long “game plan” for our world, but I just want everyone to know God. Anyways, I’m so thankful to be chosen by God and to have received mercy, forgiveness and grace through Jesus. May I glorify him to point others to him.

  2. Makenzie Knowlden says:

    When I’m reading about what was presented to God (blind animals, lame animals, sick animals), I am disgusted for Him. & then I am convicted of the times that I bring Him lame things as an offering as well. But it’s not a sacrifice or gift if we don’t care about losing it. & God doesn’t deserve our leftovers.

  3. Kylie Ho says:

    Being loved by God doesn’t mean that there won’t be times we fail Him, and that the Lord would not follow through on the consequences stated in the covenant in Exodus. Thankfully He is the same God who restores the chosen. “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'”
    Zechariah 13:9 ESV
    Great is the Lord’s wisdom! That He would work through even our incompetences and even self-chosen failures to produce His ways and knowledge of Himself to us!

  4. Brooke says:

    Does anyone else struggle with Israel’s response to God’s declaration of love? I do the same thing and it’s apalling to me to see how Israel responds to the God who gives them Jesus? The benefits of having the whole picture, right? Man, that’s convicting.

    Just like how I don’t have the full picture of life now, Israel didn’t either. How easy it is to doubt God’s love in the middle of a trial, or an exile from the Promised Land or Garden of Eden we may have been living in for a time. But He works all things for our good.

    Thankful for the reminder today.

    Also, the Acts verses didn’t connect for me to the Malachi or the Romans readings. Does anyone have any insight on those verses?

    1. Kylie Ho says:

      I’m short-sighted like the Israelites as well, and yes, it’s mighty convicting – we tend to only understand how good God is to us on hindsight/after the trials and difficulties we walk through.

      For Acts, I understand it to be a reminder that it is the gracious word of God that builds us up, transforms/sanctifies us and makes us worthy and able to inherit the inheritance of the saints/the reward prepared for elected (Romans) in Christ. Hope this helps!

  5. Debbie says:

    Cindi, I hear what you are saying and I know I cannot speak with full knowledge on the topic of election. I’ve wrestled with this in the past and come to rest in what I know of God’s heart. I trust Him to do what is fully right and perfect. AND I trust following verses in Romans 10 to be truth as well, verses that say, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

    “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Somehow both are true… a both/and. It is a mystery and I find comfort in the thought that our God is not fully knowable by my finite mind. I hope this helps in even a small way.

  6. Cindi H says:

    So all I see when I read this is “election” and God has mercy on whom he wants and hardens who he wants, (Romans 9:14). This makes my heart sink and I don’t fully understand. I’ve always thought and believed in free will. I feel like this is the elephant in the room and no one wants to address it. Even my study bible is vague regarding these passages. Would love to hear what you all think on this.

    1. Dee Wilcox says:

      Same here. It’s difficult. I think the New Testament dives deeper into who we are as the elect of Christ. I’m trying to reconcile two truths – He hardens whom he hardens, but he also desires that all would come to him.

      1. Cindi H says:

        Yes! The struggle you described sums it up for me too. Thank you Dee

  7. Carmela says:

    Wow! what can I say after reading such a tremendous study. I was surprised when I read the word “Lackadaisical”. I have always struggled to stay committed to studying the word of God, I have tried countless ways and at times it weakened me to see that I was unable to stick to a plan. This word though, when I read the definition, it blew my mind because it described me perfectly. This word which I had never heard of before describes the type of person I have been and am. My number one excuse has always been ” I just don’t have the time..” , I want to work on that, I want to continue learning, I want to continue knowing that He has and will love me.

  8. Jenn says:

    I am thankful for this message this morning and reminder!!!!

  9. Angie says:

    Natasha, I lift you before the Lord God this moment. I ask that His presence would speak peace into your situation. That goodness would prevail and that His will would be done in each and every situation you face. May lives be touched, hearts mended, and faith in Jesus Christ bloom fragrant and beautiful. May His love shine now and always.

    Shawn, my hands lay open before the Lord in representation of your life and your calling. May you be the Light and Life of Jesus to the lost and lonely souls battling daily for hope (whether students or coworkers). May they not see you, but the strength and power of Jesus that lives in and flows out of you. May those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior find strength in your like faith, to stand faithful among their peers. May they be strong amid temptation and may you “glitter” with the goodness of our God and King’s presence in their midst. When you grow tired and weary, Father God I pray you will strengthen Shawn with your saturating presence. May she smile regularly as she recognizes times You have gone before her to cause things to “go together,” to “work out.” And, may this be a year of blessed joy as she continues to obey your call on her life. You are faithful God. Remind her, she is loved, has always been loved, and will always be loved by You, for eternity, Yours. Amen.

  10. Natasha R says:

    I love today’s message, though I struggled to get the full picture while reading the verses. The devotional and your comments made it much clearer to me. God’s love is based on his promises and his mercy, not on anything that we do. His first promise was for the Jews through Abraham, and the second promise is for all of us through Jesus’s death and resurrection. I have reminded myself today that God’s love never fails, and that I can fully rely on his promises. This is very reassuring during these times of turmoil in my adoptive home city, Hong Kong. Can I please ask you all for prayers? Please pray that all parties get together to resolve this crisis, and pray especially for the young people who are so angry and desperate. Thanks!

    1. Annette Kendall says:

      Praying for Hong Kong!!

  11. Ashley White says:

    Love this

  12. Rosemarie Clair says:

    Oh my word Shawn – what a treasure you are to this earth and heaven being in that classroom with your heart! The generations you have loved to Jesus by that heart only heaven can tell. Thank you for loving and educating our children ♥️. Amen He has already gone before you. Praying now this school year you witness in your soul the strength, wisdom, grace, discernment, love, compassion, peace and joy that come from Jesus, even in the hardest “right nows.” God is surely faithful.

  13. Sue says:

    “I am loved, I have been loved, and I will be loved—forever.”

    Thank you God for your faithful and steadfast love.
    Not only to the Israelites in the Old Testament, but also in my life today.

    May I live in confidence of this truth today.

  14. Shawn Parks says:

    I am loved, have been loved, and will be loved. Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. God said, “tell them ‘I Am’ sent you.” Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega-The beginning and the end.” God knows how fixated I get on the “right now”. In the middle of the thing, I have trouble making sense of it and my perspective gets all out of whack. Patiently and, maybe more accurately, “persistently” He repeats for my benefit, that He is not a god of time, but He IS time. So, as I begin a new school year tomorrow and am looking at another “ beginning” God is in my “right now” reminding me of His faithfulness in my past 28 years in the classroom and the amazing work He has done and His grace and mercy that prevailed within those walls. He is also bringing to my heart, His promises to never leave me, to draw near to me when I draw near to Him, and to hear my prayers. Because, He IS time. I can put my whole trust and hope in Him. There will be challenging days ahead, days of indecision, and days when I feel exhausted. There will be days that are rewarding and days of rejoicing. Knowing that my Father loves me so much that He chooses to be present in all of the days excites my heart and I am anxious to see the work He will do in the lives of these broken children who need a Savior so desperately. I can’t wait because I know He is already there!

    1. Lauren Reid says:


  15. Churchmouse says:

    “A pronouncement.”
    “This is the Lord’s declaration.”

    Alrighty then, pay attention.

    The Lord is reminding His people that He has loved them – through thick and thin, through their faithfulness and their rebellion, in times of prosperity and in times of poverty. He is a God who loves. A God who loves is also just and honest. When He calls for repentance, you better fall to your knees. When He warns that judgment is coming, you better believe it’s coming. When He says He will deliver you and destroy your enemies, go ahead and throw the victory party now.

    Pay attention.

    The word of the Lord never fails. His love never ends.

    Got that? Alrighty then.