Returning God’s Love

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. —Malachi 1:2

The book of Malachi begins with this wholehearted word from the Lord to His halfhearted worshipers: “I have loved you” (1:2). Though Israel had long been the object of God’s love, they no longer returned His love.

God listed the ways His people had offended His love through their disobedience. Israel’s response was to question God. When He implored them, “Return to Me, and I will return to you,” they questioned Him in their blindness, “In what way shall we return?” (3:7). With divine “tough love,” the Lord exposed their many blind spots. He did this so that they might repent and accept His love, and return it with wholehearted obedience.

We too are often halfhearted in our faith, appearing to love and serve God but really loving and serving ourselves. Today, as in Malachi’s time, God looks for people who reverence Him by maintaining two spiritual practices: speaking to each other about Him, and meditating on His wonderful attributes (v.16). The first is fellowship with God’s people; the second is fellowship with God Himself. Not only are we to receive and share God’s love, we are also to return it through glad obedience.

Such worshipers are God’s “jewels” (v.17). Are you one of them?

Joanie Yoder

“We love You, Lord Jesus,” we often will say,
  But are we as ready His will to obey?
  Let’s heed what God’s Spirit would have us to do—
  That’s how we show Him a love that is true.

D. De Haan

To love God is to obey God.

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