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Who Wrote the Old Book on Love?

Description

The good news of God’s eternal love permeates the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi.

Bible Reading: Exodus 34:5-7

I am the Lord, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. Exodus 34:6

YOU REALLY WANT TO know about God’s love? Look at the Bible. That’s where you spot more specifics about God’s love than anywhere else.

Hundreds of references in both Testaments fill you in on God’s affection for you. Some entire chapters, such as 1 Corinthians 13 -- called “the love chapter”-- are devoted to love. Love is the big theme in books such as Hosea, the gospel of John, and John’s skinny first letter toward the back of the Bible. And according to Jesus, love is the overall theme of Scripture (see Matthew 22:37-40).

In the Old Testament, the Law (the first five books) and the Prophets (the last seventeen books) summarize God’s instructions about how to have a deep, radically loving relationship with him and others. How those relationships panned out is related in the Old Testament books of history (Joshua, Judges, Kings, Chronicles, etc.) and celebrated in the books of poetry (Psalms, Proverbs, etc.).

When Jesus talked about “commandments” and “prophets,” he was saying that God’s love fills the Old Testament. Catch these rich words about how your loving God described himself in the Old Testament:

  • “The Lord is slow to anger and rich in unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion” (Numbers 14:18).

  • “You, O Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love and truth” (Psalm 86:15).

  • “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love” (Psalm 145:8).

  • “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you” (Joel 2:13).

And do you remember Jonah? He’s the guy who was swallowed by a big fish for refusing to spread God’s love. Jonah hated the Ninevites, but he had to admit God loved them: “I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love” (Jonah 4:2).

See a pattern here? The good news of God’s eternal love permeates the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi. God isn’t first and foremost about judgment. He’s about love. And you are at the center of his loving heart.

REFLECT: Which of those messages in God’s Word makes you most sure of his love for you?

PRAY: Tell God thanks for shouting his love for you through the Bible.

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