Malachi wrote to the Jewish exiles that had resettled in Judah probably sometime during the reign of King Darius of Persia (521-486 BC). Malachi begins his oracle by conveying the simple truth that God has always loved Israel.
“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist,and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (John 13:3-4, NLT).
John says that Jesus came from God and had all authority over everything and then He washed His disciples’ feet!
The God of the universe became a human being and then washed the feet of the human beings He created?
Jesus spoke these words to the Jewish religious leaders who disputed His claims that He was the Son of God.
What’s so startling about this statement is not so much that Jesus made a concise but powerful legal defense for His deity, but that this poignant pronouncement provided such amazing insight into human nature, God’s nature, and the big difference between the two.
“For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died. And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, HCSB).
There are two ways to live a holy life, two versions of sanctification. These verses describe the right way sanctification should be manifested or lived out in our lives.
Don’t the people you love the most, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents, or friends, make you happy?
Isn’t it your love for them that makes you happy?
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:6-9, HCSB).Psalm 107 contains a powerful message of God’s lovingkindness and deliverance.
The fundamental message of the Psalm is that when people encounter adversity, if they cry out to God for help, He will rescue them from their troubles.
You’ve heard this message before, many times, but the Psalmist’s proclamation of God’s faithful love, His covenant loyalty, His chesed, in this Psalm is so powerful that it warrants further consideration.
“He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us…But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts” (Psalm 103:10-12, 17-18, HCSB).
In a popular children’s bedtime story by Sam McBratney, father and son rabbits use ever-greater exaggerated measures to quantify how much they love each other until the baby rabbit falls asleep.
“I love you right up to the moon–and back,” the father rabbit whispers as the baby rabbit dozes off.
“Remember, Lord, Your compassion and Your faithful love, for they have existed from antiquity. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my acts of rebellion; in keeping with Your faithful love, remember me because of Your goodness, Lord. The Lord is good and upright; therefore He shows sinners the way. He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep His covenant and decrees. Because of Your name, Yahweh, forgive my sin, for it is great” (Psalm 25:6-11, HCSB).
The explanations the psalmist provides in Psalm 25 about how God reveals Himself and His will to us are so perceptive and penetrating that it merits another post to explain the reasons why God reveals His will.
Fortunately, Psalm 25 provides explanations for both How and Why!
And, we concluded that God reveals specific details of His character and His will to people who are desperately looking for Him. In other words, when we depend on God, then He will show us His way for us to follow.
But you might be left wondering why God would want to bother with providing a personal revelation of Himself to you and me?
Why go to all that trouble?
The psalmist provides a powerful theological explanation for God revealing Himself and His will to His people in these verses: God is good!
The psalmist contrasts the faithful love of God and His goodness with the depravity of human beings and their need for restoration.
The juxtaposition of remember/not remember/remember demonstrates that God’s consciousness (remembrance) of His own everlasting love and mercy is the reason He acts beneficently toward His people.
Therefore, people’s sins are forgiven (not remembered). And only then can God act on behalf of His people (remember) who have humbled themselves and depend on Him.
In fact, it is God’s reputation (His name) that is at stake in the forgiveness of people’s sins.
God’s reputation–His essential nature or character–is closely connected with His actions toward His people.
Because people are sinful and God is good, He must impute His goodness by forgiving our sins!
It’s as if God is compelled by the force of His own nature to reveal Himself and His will to His people!
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:16-17, NLT).
That’s the way I imagine this story of Jesus’ baptism.
God the Father is so proud of His Son because He has been called to ministry and is fulfilling that calling. And so the Father just had to tell somebody how proud He was and express His delight to His Son.
God the Father has that same feeling about you.
You are the Heavenly Father’s dearly loved son or daughter and you bring Him great joy.
When you accomplish His plans and purposes for your life, it pleases Him and He is so proud of you!