You are Loved
The ads are full of pictures of them – unloved, neglected, hungry, homeless people – usually children. Sometimes they are pictured lying in the streets of the great cities, at other times starving in war-torn villages, or poverty-stricken refugee camps on a Greek Island.
The object of the ad is to squeeze money out of you.
Everything seems to shout out that you should love these people and somehow contribute to their welfare – give your money to help them.
What does it really mean – Love your neighbour?
Why should you? And more to the point – HOW?
You yourself are loved; so how will you
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. Ephesians 5:2
v 1. When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.
This passage from the Old Testament is full of passion – God’s undying, unchanging, tender love for ungrateful and wayward people. It is a wonderful expression of how God loves His people in spite of everything that tends to spoil the relationship. It dramatically exposes God’s nature of love and grace. Such love is not just discovered in the New Testament, with stories of Jesus, it is an inherent part of the story of God, which is the whole Bible.
This is God pleading that His people should return to Him rather than wander off, determined to follow evil practices. God loved the child – the young nation called out of oppression in Egypt – only to see that nation rebelling and choosing to worship other gods. Yet love continues and yearns to see a restored relationship. Unfaithfulness will have its consequences, but the heart of God will never let go of them entirely.
“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows.
No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
And that is how God loves us too! When things go wrong in our lives and we stray off into wrong pathways we tend to feel that God will love us less than previously – but not so. God’s love for His people is not diminished one jot. Sure, we may carry the scars and memories of wrongdoing, but God’s love remains constant.
If you want to see how God taught Hosea this truth, go back to Hosea chapter 1 and read how he married a prostitute, then discovered how unfaithful she was, and yet he went on loving her and yearned for an honest, gracious relationship with her. Hosea learned about love the hard way as he stood in God’s shoes and experienced rejection and unfaithfulness by the one he loved.