God is Love.

Yes indeed, God is love; but how many, many centuries passed before this wonderful truth was revealed to man. After the flood, when God had shown Himself as an inexorable judge, He revealed Himself to Abraham as the Almighty God, the possessor of heaven and earth. More than four hundred years later He made Himself known to Moses as the great I AM, the eternal God. Having through Moses delivered His people Israel from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, He led them into the wilderness, unto Mount Sinai; and when the people had promised to obey the Lord in all things, He gave them His law. By this they were taught the absolute holiness of God, and that He could not tolerate the smallest sin. Ten commandments comprised this law, the first and great commandment being this: "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind."

What a strange command was this! A people ordered to love a Being whom they could not see, and only knew as a terrible God, fearful in holiness, all-powerful, and ready to punish the smallest sin. And they were commanded to love Him with all the powers of their being! This indeed seemed impossible, for love cannot be produced to order, it must be spontaneous. Yet God never orders the impossible; for behind this strange command lies a deep secret, not yet, nor for many centuries to come to be revealed to man, the marvellous loveableness of God. True, glimpses of God's love were given, as we find in Deuteronomy 7:7, 8, where we are told that He had chosen this people because He loved them. In the Psalms we find many verses expressing God's kindness and goodness, and especially His mercy, but nothing more. The prophets indeed speak continually of a great Deliverer, but throughout the Old Testament are to be found terrible warnings of what would inevitably overtake all those who disobeyed and despised God's clear commands.

At last, when the fulness of time was come, the long-promised Deliverer appeared, and proved to be none other than God's own beloved Son, Who revealed the long-hidden secret that God is love. How different from the terrible denunciations against sin in the Old Testament is that wonderful verse, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Page after page of the Gospels speak to us of that blessed Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who in His earthly pathway down here exhibited to the full, love and grace and truth.

As we read on, through the Epistles, what beautiful descriptions we find about this God of love! The Father of mercies, the God of all comfort, the God of all grace, the God of peace, the God of hope, the God of patience and consolation. Yet more, the Apostle John writes, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God" (1 John 3:1). And in the following chapter, twice over are found these wonderful words, "God is love."

Well may the Apostle Paul exclaim, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38, 39).
G. F. Barlee.