And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16
From beginning to end, God is love. Everything He has done, everything He will do, comes from His love for His creation. Yes, some things in love hurt. When we must correct, when we must change things for the better. There will come a day when God will pour out wrath, but it will be upon those that have chosen not to know Him.
The overaching reality of our God is His love. If we are His and He is ours, our beloved, then there is only this reality. There is no fear, no doubts, no uncertainty of His love for us. We worship and adore Him. We obey His commands. We live our lives for Him.
I get posts on Facebook from a man back east who teaches Hebrew for Christians. This morning’s post was about the attributes of God as revealed to Moses, and that God’s love is always a part of His reality. Here is the name of the Lord as revealed to Moses, elaborating on God’s attributes:
And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7 KJV)
The word goodness is Chesed, which the literal meaning is desire or ardour, and has been interpreted in some translations as lovingkindness. God is loving toward us. Loving in a kind manner; not just His commitment to us, or His provision, protection as some would like to interpret love. God is AFFECTIONATE to His people. Look at some of these attributes: gracious, longsuffering, loving, merciful, forgiving. These are all signs of compassion and affection. God feels something for His people.
The word love is mentioned in the New Testament alone 166 times. Jesus told his disciples repeatedly to love one another as He loved us. 1 John is full of verses about this love–it is mentioned 23 times in the book. So we can see that love is very important to God as an attribute of His love for us, and an attribute that we should show to each other. Every aspect of our walk with Him should reflect that love.
This is why Paul’s admonition to husbands is: Husbands, love your wives! If you look at the attributes God mentioned on Sinai, these should be the attributes a man is showing to his wife in every aspect of their relationship: grace, mercy, truth, goodness, kindness, forgiveness and long suffering. In return, the man should expect that his wife should honor, respect, reverence, and yes, obey him. What a wonderful relationship is that!
We are not perfect, though we strive for that mark. We fail each other miserably, but we forgive one another. Marriage should be about helping each other to achieve these ideals, working together in Jesus, not abuse, not tyrannical control. If a man is only concerned with subjugating his wife, and not helping her to walk with him, he denies himself the glorious relationship Jesus intended for him. If a woman is only interested in manipulating and trying to control her husband, she misses the beauty of her husband’s protection and goodness toward her. Let us walk in Jesus today and strive toward the mark.