Love And Faithfulness
O praise the Lord, all you nations!Praise Him, all you people! For His lovingkindness prevails over us [and we triumph and overcome through Him],And the truth of the Lord endures forever.Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
A television talk show host recently interviewed a bride who was stood up at the church on her wedding day, with 250 guests waiting. Now months down the lines
from being stood up, the jilted bride hesitated when asked, “Do you still love him?”
With a tear or two she admitted she still had feelings for him but didn’t know if she could ever trust him again.
The host advised: “Listen the first time to what a person tells you, not by what they say- but what they do. For what they do is what they really are.”
Here’s the shortest chapter in the Bible-Psalm 117- and it tells us who God really is by what He does.
The psalm invites all the nations to praise and extol the Lord. He’s not the God limited to one family, clan, tribe, or nation. His love and faithfulness-two aspects of His character celebrated in the psalm-are for all.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you or someone else said, “It’s too good to be true.” That’s certainly the case with the love of God. Of all the things about God we may have difficulty believing, it seems that believing that God loves us-and He really does seems too good to be true. After reading John 3:16, 1 John 3:1, and the entire story of the of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us and in addition to that all the times God has blessed us, answered our prayers or met our need, we still wonder how such a holy perfect Being could ever love the flawed, imperfect, undeserving person like us.
I have struggled for many years for I could not truly believe that God loved me as an individual. I was sure He loved people but not sure I was included. He was too holy and I was too sinful and those I was sure He loved seemed too perfect. I served Him from a sense of obligation, duty and gratitude. I intellectually accepted the fact that He had truly died for my sins and was resurrected from the dead, but the notion that He loved me- not a one among a crowd- but the individual me was beyond my comprehension. To me at that point His love for me was a general dispensing of kindness and affection much like a kindly old gentleman passing out candy to a small child in the park. God was more like Santa who gave good things to those who were “good” and punishment to those who were “bad.” At best His love was toward all people and the thought of being singled out as the object of His great love remained outside at a distance, far outside my emotional comprehension.
Psalm 117 invites us to consider the greatness of His love, the very same theme that is fulfilled in the New Testament when John invites us to exclaim with him: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God(1 John 3:1).
God’s love is immediate. Jesus doesn’t stand us up and look us over and run a background check or put us on probation. He doesn’t say, “I want to look you over, try you out for a season, see if you can benefit my kingdom in some way.” He doesn’t ask, “Can you do me any good? Are you worth My love and can I take it in advisement before I decide whether or not I should love you?”
Absolutely, profoundly no! It matters not who we are, whether a rich young ruler, a woman with a not-so-good past, a youth with a future or an old woman with a need. It doesn’t matter whether we have or don’t have potential, whether we’re colorful or bland, whether our personality sparkles or fizzles; no matter our age, gender, race, culture, or politics, God loves us without hesitation. That love is not only immediate but it is also enduring. God doesn’t fall into and out of love with us as fickle humanity often does. The Hebrew word translated “great” implies: “The love of God prevails.” It never gives up, gets tired or wavers. Peter denied the Lord, Thomas doubted, the rest abandoned Him and Judas betrayed Him but He never stopped loving them, going so far as to wash their feet and treating Judas as a beloved friend. He even loves His enemies for we hear Him say on the cross, “Father forgive them,” rather than You’ll be sorry when I make you pay for this.”
Psalm 117 says that “God’s faithfulness is eternal” meaning that God’s promises and plans are as fresh and intact now as they were on the day they were first given and they will always remain so.
There are a multitude of New Testament scriptures that bear out the aspects of the Lord’s faithfulness and because He is faithful, we can rely upon Him to provide the following:
God is faithful to protect and strengthen us against the evil one(2 Thessalonians 3:3)
God will not let any temptation become greater than we can bear(1 Corinthians 10:13)
God will remain faithful even when we are faithless(2 Timothy 2: 11-13)
God is faithful to forgive us when we sin(1 John 1:9)
God is faithful to present us blameless on the day of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ(1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24)
It just might be good to take the advice given to the young bride-to-be when it comes to the Lord: “Listen the first time to what a person tell you, not by what they say but what they do. For what they do is what they really are.”
God is everything He says He is and over and over He has proven it by His deeds. We can trust that.
Dr. John Thompson