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God's Unfailing Love for Us

Readings for December 5, 2023

Psalm 138 begins with David’s heartfelt declaration of praise to the LORD for His “unfailing love, for His faithfulness, and for His solemn decree” (verses 1-2). To emphasize its importance, David repeats this declaration four times in the Psalm (verses 1, 2, & 4). Our God, says David, is unlike all “the gods” of this world. Although people worship "other gods," in reality, "other gods” do not exist. How foolish that people should give their allegiance and worship to non-existent entities! Things that don't exist cannot emulate things that do. "Other gods" cannot manifest any of the “glorious” attributes of our “exalted LORD,” Who receives and responds to our “praise, answers our call, sees us, preserves our lives, saves and vindicates us, and endures forever” (verses 3-8). On the basis of this solid evidence, David summons “all the [other] kings of the earth to respond accordingly and “praise the LORD” properly when they “hear what God has decreed” (verse 4). These truths cannot be justifiably proclaimed for any “other god” in the universe.

No one can be forced or coerced against his will to love someone else – it’s just not possible. To be genuine, love must be freely given. Nevertheless, Jesus commanded His followers to “love one another” (John 13:34-35). Here, in 1 John 4:7-21, we are told again to “love one another” because “love comes from God” Who “is love” Himself (verses 7-8). We understand this to mean that God is the Source of genuine love. God’s love is sacrificial, and it focuses exclusively on the beloved one. Such love sets aside all interests in and concerns for self, and it defers to the interests in and concerns for the beloved one. “This is the love that God” demonstrates toward us (verse 10). To love others this way is an evidence that we truly “know God” (verse 7). This kind of love is unique to Christianity - no other belief system or worldview – is based on love. Jesus knew that this command would be impossible to follow without special, external enablement. For this reason, God “has given us His Spirit” (verse 13). In this way and by the Holy Spirit, we are able to follow Christ’s command and love others like God loves us - a testimony that we “know God” (verse 16).

In Daniel 11, we see the continuation of God’s revelation to Daniel in chapter 10. This revelation was prophecy for Daniel, but now most of it is history for us – relative to the kings of the Persian empire, then the Greek empire, and to the coming of Antiochus IV Epiphanies. The time frame spans almost 400 years before the coming of Christ, and its long-term fulfillment concerns the future end times regarding the Antichrist in the tribulation. From this chapter, we see not only “what God is about to do” (cf., Genesis 18:17-19; Luke 8:17), but also God’s sovereign control over history as well as His divine love, His concern for, and His supernatural preservation of His people through the future events that He reveals.

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