“I have always loved you, says the Lord.” Malachi 1:2a NLT
About a year ago, my husband and I were at the Cove in Asheville, NC, for a conference. As always, it was a fabulous time of teaching and fellowship. If you have never been there—-you must go! But on this particular evening, our speaker began with these words, “I have always loved you, says the Lord.” And then he stopped. It got quiet in the room. Stone quiet. No one moved or coughed or stirred. Tears began to roll down my face, and as I looked around the room, others’ eyes were wet, too. Why is that? What made these words, I have always loved you, so powerful at that moment? I have thought about that moment many times since that day. What I have come to learn is that we have a whole lot of people out in the world who don’t know that God has always loved them. And at times, I forget this truth too. Often, we don’t really know or believe just how much God loves us. Not only does he love us right now, but he has also loved us, ALWAYS!
If you were to read another translation other than the NLT, the word ALWAYS isn’t there-but it should be. These words, “I have loved you” is written in the Perfect tense. In Biblical Hebrew, a perfect tense verb has the potential to be translated with the past tense, present tense, and even future tense. The well-respected Bible commentator, G Campbell Morgan, translated these words as “I have loved you; I do love you; I will love you, says the Lord.” This application of the perfect tense is how the NLT came up with this word- always. So many translations miss the fullness of the idea in these words. I have loved you -can be understood differently than I have always loved you. Don’t miss this meaning!
So, why is this important? Because so many of us try to say God started loving me once I came to know him as my Savior, but before that, I was on my own- but the truth of the matter is, God has always loved you! You need to understand that Jesus loved you then just as much as he loves you now! He has loved you ALWAYS! We also need to know that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. (Rom 8:38). We need the assurance that God’s love is deep, long, high, and wide. (Eph 3:18)
Knowing God loves us changes how we think about what has happened to us in our lifetime, and helps us think well of the future.
Knowing God loves us also changes our response to the heart wounds we are carrying. Let’s settle this, right now, right here- God has always loved you!
A song written many years ago said, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
no, not just for some but for everyone.”
This song is right- this is what the world needs right now. But not just more love from each other-although this would be great and is commanded in Scripture. But what the world needs right now is for everyone to know that God loves them and that he always has. Just knowing and believing this truth would change the world! And knowing God’s love will point you straight into the arms of Jesus.
Can you pray with me that we might be able to share this truth this week? So many are without hope, so many are hurt and alone. So many need to know that, “I have always loved you, says the Lord.”