It is one of those questions that often seems to be in the forefront of our minds. One of those essential questions that is deeply ingrained within us-- "Does God REALLY love me?"
Interestingly enough, this is a question that only exists because of our Christian faith. When you compare the Christian faith to other faiths, both new and old, you will see that love in relation to our creator is unheard of. For the majority of human history, relationship with our gods has been based solely on appeasing them. Humanity's goal was to do what they believed their gods would like; only if they could accomplish the works that pleased their gods could their relationship with them be intact. But there is the Hebrew God--the One true God who desires something unique. Something that humanity had never seen before: relationship based on love, not works.
But there is the Hebrew God--the One true God who desires something unique. Something that humanity had never seen before: relationship based on love, not works.
But even with this unique perspective, our human nature leads us to ask the question "Does God really love me?"
In the book of Malachi, we see how God responds to this question. In the final prophetic book of the Old Testament, you'll find the Israelites in a unique time in their people's history. Around 100 years after they arrived back from their exile in Babylon, the Israelites had high hopes for how things were going to go for them moving forward. It was the prophet Haggai who had told them that their obedience to God would lead to blessings, and 50 years after Haggai's prophetic words, the Israelites were beginning to grow impatient. Their impatience led to them asking that age-old question, "Does God really love us?"
Their impatience led to them asking that age-old question, "Does God really love us?"
God was not too pleased with this question. In fact, if you look at Malachi 1:2-5 you can see how God responds to their doubts.
“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.’” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!” - Malachi 1:2-5 (ESV)
God makes it clear to the Israelites that He has loved them, even in this season of doubt. But He doesn't end there. God not only reminds them of His love, but He also takes this opportunity to reveal to them how His love has been there from the very beginning. He communicates this by reminding the Israelites of His love for Jacob.
It is all the way back in Genesis 25 that we see the story of Jacob and his twin brother Esau. It was here that God made a choice; a choice to favor Jacob and Jacob's descendants. Even though Esau and Jacob were brothers, it was Jacob that God knew would lead to the nation of Israel. His descendants would become the nation that God chose to be His people, the people that would one day birth His own Son, Jesus Christ.
His descendants would become the nation that God chose to be His people, the people that would one day birth His own Son, Jesus Christ.
God's choice to favor Jacob over Esau was a commitment to Jacob's descendants. It was not that God loved Jacob over Esau, but rather that God knew who Jacob's lineage would become. 1,500 years later, when those descendants were questioning this commitment, God reminds them of their forefather and the choice God made to bless Jacob and Jacob's descendants.
This reminder is what the Israelites held on to for the next 400 years as they awaited the birth of Jesus. They were secure in the knowledge that their God loved them, just as He had loved Jacob.
But does God love us? Everything that we have read up to this point has been directed to the people of Israel. How does that help us to be confident in God's love for us?
God's love for His people is a love that transcends time. He loved Jacob because He loves the people of Israel, and He loves the people of Israel because He loved Jacob. These two things are not independent to one another, but rather, are connected.
This same love continues to be true today. God's love for us is deeply ingrained in what has already happened and what is to come. He loves us because He has created us. He loves us because of His Son Jesus Christ, and He loves us because one day we will join Him in eternity.
None of these truths are separate from one another, in the same way that none of the truths set before us in Malachi chapter 1 are separate from one another.
God does love us, even those who have not submitted to His authority in their lives. He loves all of us because we are His creation. This is the exact reason that God sent His Son to save us. God, from the very beginning of time, knew that all of us would fail at living up to the standard needed to join Him in eternity. It is only because of this transcending love that He planned for His Son to come and die for our salvation.
So does God love you? Yes. Scripture is clear on the fact that God loves you. It is the most well known scripture of all the bible that tells us,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16
This love was manifested from Adam, through Abraham and Isaac to Jacob and the descendants of Israel, all the way to Jesus.
This is the reason we submit to God's authority-- because He loves us. This is not like the religions of old that force our submission simply for the fact that god is better than us, but we believe because God was willing to do everything necessary for relationship with His creation.