Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake. Psalm 79:9
In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. I John 4:10.
We love because God first loved us. Stop and think about that for a moment. God loved us first, we didn’t have to do anything to earn that love. He loved us so much that He sent Jesus to atone for the sins we have committed. The fourth chapter of I John tells us even more about God’s love for us. As one commentator said the mission of Christ tells us this about the love of God. “it is a love independent of, and earlier than, ours.” Farther along he also comments “If then, God’s love is not evoked by anything in his creatures, then it is universal.” We don’t have to be worthy to be loved by God; God is love.
Then we have Psalm 79. The people of Israel are not doing well probably wondering if God really does love them. The title over the Psalm is “A Prayer for Deliverance.” They pray that God will stop the enemies, those nations that have “invaded your inheritance.” These other countries are taking over what was promised and set aside for Israel. Then we get to verse 9 – where they want the surrounding people in the other nations to see that God is in charge. Not the idols they believe in. To stop them from thinking that the idols and gods they follow are stronger than God. Of course, we know that God did love this sinning population so much that He does eventually see them restored to their land. They ask that God show His love to the whole world by His actions to forgive and deliver His chosen people.
We just spent the past week with about 30 kids in Vacation Bible school. Part of what we discussed was Jesus' love for the people around him. The wedding at Cana, the woman at the well, Mary anointing his feet, Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Christ. All about Jesus’ personal love for individual people, and groups of people UP to and including all of us. God loves everyone. He loves me. He loves you. He sent Jesus as savior for all those He loves, that is everyone. With his love supporting us, we then in turn can love everyone.
Gracious God, how amazing it is to know that your love comes to us freely, unconditionally, and abundantly. Thank you for your concern and care for all your people. May we in response love others as you have first loved us. Amen.