“I have loved you,” the Lord told His people through the prophet Malachi. But the Israelites, who had suffered generations of affliction and captivity, asked the Lord, “Wherein hast thou loved us?” (Malachi 1:2). After all Israel had been through, they may have wondered whether the history of ancient Israel is really a story of God’s love for His covenant people.
As you reflect on what you have read in the Old Testament this year, what evidence do you find of God’s love? It’s easy to see many examples of human weakness and rebellion. Yet throughout all of that, God never stopped reaching out in love. When the sons of Jacob mistreated their brother Joseph, the Lord still prepared a way to save them from famine (see Genesis 45:4–8). When Israel murmured in the wilderness, God fed them with manna (see Exodus 16:1–4). Even when Israel abandoned Him, turned to other gods, and were scattered, God never fully abandoned them but promised that if they repented, He would gather and redeem them “with great mercies” (see Isaiah 54:7).
Viewed this way, the Old Testament is a story of God’s patient, enduring love. And this story continues today. “The Sun of Righteousness [will] arise with healing in his wings,” Malachi prophesied (Malachi 4:2). Jesus Christ did come, bringing physical and spiritual healing to all who come unto Him. He is the greatest evidence of God’s love for ancient Israel and for all of us.