True Love: From Cover to Cover (aka: what God has done for man)

I John 4:8 – “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

The love of God was first displayed in the book of Genesis via the creation of this world and all the beautiful things contained therein. God’s love was shown as He made man in His own image and blessed him with the gift and responsibility of free will. Because of God’s love, eight souls (Noah and his family) were spared during the global flood. God’s love was manifested in the promises He made to the great patriarch Abraham and his descendants. In the book of Exodus, God raised up a deliverer, Moses, to powerfully lead the people out of Egyptian bondage. His love was seen as the Red Sea was parted for His children and the covenant was established on Mount Sinai. The love of God was shown in Leviticus as He instructed His people how to worship and maintain fellowship with Him. God’s love was demonstrated to His children in the book of Numbers by guiding them to the border of the Promised Land (after He punished them as a nation for their disbelief). We see the love of God in Deuteronomy as the Lord reviewed, through Moses, His laws with the new generation of Hebrews. He wanted them to know His will so they could obey it and be richly blessed!

In the book of Joshua, God’s love was shown as He brought Israel into the promised land and allowed them to conquer it. Although the children of Israel fell into sin time and time again in the book of Judges (and were punished accordingly), God loved them by raising up an appropriate deliverer each time they repented. He continued to forgive them when they came back to Him. The lesson of God’s love that can be gleaned from the book of Ruth is that the Lord will embrace anyone, regardless of their nationality, if they will put their faith in Him and obey Him. We see the love of God in the books of Samuel as God promised to set up an eternal kingdom through David’s lineage. God’s love was demonstrated very clearly toward His faithful children in the historical books of the Kings and Chronicles. He blessed those who obeyed Him and punished those who defied Him (of course, His discipline is also a manifestation of His love; cf. Heb. 12:5,6). Ultimately, He allowed all twelve tribes to be conquered by foreign nations because of their idolatry and infidelity to His covenant. However, He showed His love even as He allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed in that He preserved a remnant (i.e., some survivors). The love of God eventually restored the Hebrew people to their homeland as was recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah. God did not leave His people in captivity! In the book of Esther, the love of God was demonstrated providentially through the saving of the Jewish people from destruction.

Through a careful study of the book of Job, mankind can better understand earthly suffering and the value of perseverance. The fact that God provided man with such a book underscores His love for us. The love of God is also seen in the other books of wisdom or poetry (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) in that God instructs man how to find true joy. It is not through the vain things of this world; it is through fearing God and keeping His commandments. God loves His creation so much that He provided these words of wisdom and instruction for practical guidance in life.

The rest of the Old Testament is made up of the Prophets. These books include dozens of warnings to God’s people to turn from sin before it became too late. These warnings are proof of God’s love. Additionally, these books include many prophecies concerning the Messiah (including detailed information regarding His genealogy, birthplace, sufferings, etc.). The prophetic books are indeed the result of God’s love.

In the New Testament, God showed His love by fulfilling the Messianic prophecies through His Son Jesus. The love of God was shown in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as Jesus the Christ was born into this world of a virgin. Jesus’ ministry, which included His teachings and good works, was a testimony to God’s true love. It was the love of God that resulted in Jesus’ death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. God’s love is clearly seen throughout the book of Acts as the Lord established His church and the saving gospel message was preached in all the world to Jews and Gentiles alike.

The remainder of the New Testament, except the last book, is composed of epistles or letters (most of which were written by the apostles Paul, Peter, and John). Divine love is demonstrated through these writings in that God did not leave Christians–His children–without instructions. These books, some of which were written to congregations and others to individuals, provide the necessary guidance for Christian living (cf. II Tim. 3:16,17). Finally, God’s love is also shown in the book of Revelation. Although this is a difficult book, its theme is simple: ultimately, those on God’s side will be victorious. Therefore, be faithful until death! God loves His faithful children enough to glorify them with Him in the heavenly abode for all eternity. Truly, it is impossible to overlook the love of God in the victory He makes possible through Christ Jesus.

Who can deny that God is love (I John 4:8) and that His love is true? No matter where one turns in the sacred text, the love of the Almighty springs off every page. These facts remain unchanged, even with the passage of time. God’s love is still true–even in the twenty-first century! May we always be mindful of this, especially in the midst of difficult days.

#every-book-of-the-bible, #love-of-god