DEVOTION: Have You Ever Doubted God’s Love For You?
DEVOTION: Have You Ever Doubted God’s Love For You?
Malachi is one of the prophets who served the Lord during Israel’s post-exilic period. Israel had just come out of a seventy-year captivity in Babylon, a devastating and demoralizing punishment. They found the city of Jerusalem, her walls and the magnificent temple built by Solomon destroyed. Once a powerful nation, Israel was now but a few remnants that had survived the exile. They must have felt disoriented when they came back to their homeland.
The word of the Lord proclaimed through the prophet Malachi reveals that Israel, as a result of what had happened to them in exile and the condition of Jerusalem, now doubted the love of God.
“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ Malachi 1:2
In the dialogue between God and the nation of Israel, God answers this question about His love for Israel by comparing His love for Jacob and his hatred for Esau.
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Malachi 1:2b-3
It seems that at this point, Edom, the descendants of Esau, were doing very well even as the Israelites were in very pathetic circumstances. But God had an assurance for Israel:
Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!’ Malachi 1:4-5
The purpose of this message was to assure the remnant that God’s love for His people was still abounding for them.
1. Have you ever doubted God’s love for you? When did this happen? What were the prevailing circumstances? How did you come out of it?
2. For some, the question should be: How long have you doubted God’s love for you? What are the prevailing circumstances that have prolonged this?
3. Sometimes we doubt God’s love when we are going through His normal discipline. The exile was a form of discipline for the Israelites. In times like this, we need to be reminded of this truth – discipline comes because of our failures or rebellion against God.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:4-11
4. Other times we doubt God’s love when we are going through a trial. When this happens, we need to remember the following truths:
a. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
b. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
c. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
5. From my pastoral experience, I have seen that the more common cause for doubting God’s love is when believers have been waiting for God to answer their prayers and God seems to be taking eternity to answer these prayers. This causes them to wonder whether God really cares for them. They ask, “Does God really Love Me?” Here is how I deal with this temptation to doubt God’s love.
a. First I always remind myself of how God answers prayers practically:
i. He will say: Yes! He answers immediately
ii. He will say: Wait! He will answer later
iii. He will say: No! He will not give you what you are asking.
b. Secondly, I have a few verses that I read to remind myself that God still loves me.
i. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11
1. If God says, “No!” then, He knows it is not good for me.
2. If He says, “Wait!” then He knows I am not ready for it.
ii. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
1. I have to believe that there is something good hidden in these unpleasant circumstances even when I do not understand.
2. I know one thing – God will never lie! I can always rely on His word. He is a faithful God.
iii. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35; 37-39
1. I must always remember that nothing will separate me from the love of God.
2. Once Loved! Forever Loved!
6. Watch out for this temptation: It is always easy to look outside of ourselves instead of looking inside (at our hearts) for that which is causing us to doubt God’s love. The remnants of Israel looked outside for the cause of their problems. The result: they blamed God.
7. Let me know how this devotion has spoken to you today.
No matter what happens in your life
You must always remember this
Truth from Scripture
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord
This is why I ask,
HAVE YOU EVER DOUBTED GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU?
-Pastor Shadrack Ruto