There is no-one alive who is not familiar at some level with the concept of love ; it is part of our intrinsic DNA! Many, many, books, stories, films, songs and poems have been made about love because love means something to every one of us. Back in the 60’s (well before my time!) John Lennon & Paul McCartney (from the Beatles) wrote the song “All you need is love”. What’s really interesting about this song is that some time later John Lennon said “When I was singing about ‘All you need is love’ I was talking about something I hadn’t experienced.” How astonishing! On the one hand there is this idea that love is all we need and on the other hand the disappointment of not having experienced it or at least not having experienced our perception of what that should be like. We live in a world crying out for love and it is also the desire of our own hearts. And yet it is also something that we find ourselves struggling to pin down, perpetually chasing after and never being completely satisfied.
In thinking about the nature of love (which I happen to be speaking on next week) I turned to my trusted print out of the occurrences of the word ‘love’ in the Bible. What I found was just over 40 references to God’s “Unfailing love” and a further 40 odd references to the fact that God’s love “Endures forever”. In addition this love is described as “everlasting”, “never failing” and Paul writes that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
“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 8:38-39
Perhaps it should be no surprise for us to see such descriptions of the love of God. Elsewhere Paul prays for the Ephesians that they would have power to grasp the boundless love of Christ and know this love which he describes as surpassing knowledge.
“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19
Is that even possible? Not this side of Heaven but I think that is kind of the point! Surely there is neither the space, nor the time, nor the insight to adequately do justice to a subject like the love of God. His love is beyond our understanding and it will always exceed our hopes and expectations.
(1) His Love Never Fails
In this world everything and everyone will let us down eventually. I am sure that we all know that everything fails except for the love of God. So many of the Psalmists echo this sentiment because they saw and experienced this to be true. No-one ever records that God’s love never fails except for that one time… Proverbs 19:22 says “What a person desires is unfailing love”. The truth is that none can ever give such love and none can therefore ever receive such love except from God. None of us are capable of truly loving except for God. Why? Because God is love. He showed us what love really is when He stepped into our world to take our place. There is no greater love! “We love because He first loved us” writes John (1 John 4:19).
(2) His Love Endures Forever
Not only does the Psalmists testify that God’s love is unfailing but they also state again and again that God’s love endures forever. Take a look at Psalm 136 for example which contains 26 verses and each one includes the phrase “His love endures forever.” While we struggle to love for a short time God does so forever. God has loved us from everlasting to everlasting…
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” Psalm 103:17-18
There has never been a time when God has not loved us. God loved us before time began and He will always love us. God will always remain true to His nature and His nature is to love. John says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16). Without God we would not know what love is because God is the very source of love and His love endures forever.
(3) His Love surrounds, protects and Satisfies
Finally there are two more quite fascinating descriptions of God’e love here. First the Psalmist (in this case King David) writes that God’s love surrounds and supports him. Specifically “the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him” (Psalm 32:10). When our feet slip it is God’s love that protects, supports and encourages us writes another Psalmist.
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:18-19
The Psalmist (who in this instance is Moses) asks God to satisfy him with His unfailing love.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
This is the reality. Nothing will ever satisfy except the love of God. As we’ve already seen everything else will fail but God remains the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It is only the love of God that we can truly rely on and place our hope in. So I ask myself why would I settle for anything less? Why would I allow myself to chase after satisfaction in the idols of my own heart? Why would I settle for that which will always fail, does not last, does not satisfy and does not have the power to surround and protect me? And yet day in and day out that is exactly what I find myself doing; settling for less than the love of God which surpasses all knowledge. Join me today in turning your hearts towards the unfailing, never ending and forever satisfying love of God…
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” Psalm 33:18