Day 15

The Lord’s Love for Israel

from the Zechariah and Malachi reading plan


Malachi 1:1-5, Acts 20:32-35, Romans 9:6-21

BY Melanie Rainer

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.

Post Comments (20)

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

  1. Jenn says:

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!

  4. Ashley White says:

    Love this

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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:

      ❤️

  8. 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.

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