You have probably heard me say that messages repeated in the Bible are really an attempt for God to get through to us on a particular matter simply because it is an important thing for us to learn. If in twenty-six short verses God repeats something twenty-six separate times, I think he may just have a message for us! The message? HIS LOVE NEVER QUITS! If you begin to take apart this psalm, you will discover some pretty significant "issues" in which Israel found themselves - "issues" which put to test exactly how secure they were trusting in and stand firm on God's love. We move from the majesty of having created the oceans and cosmos, to protecting Israel when the death angel passed over Egypt, taking the firstborn, to the splitting of the Red Sea when Egypt was coming up fast with all the might of their military forces. Not enough to prove his love is enduring? Then add those the fact that God "smashed down" huge kingdoms right and left as Israel was ushered into their promised inheritance and then handed over the "booty" of the land and kingdoms right into the hands of Israel and you have some pretty intense stuff which proves his love indeed doesn't quit. What accounts do we have to add to this "story" of God's intense love? I bet if we stop just long enough, we might just be surprised by the accounts we could add!
God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot, His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need. His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all! His love never quits!
(Psalm 136:23-26 MSG)
It is HIS love - If it was the love a human being, I may not want to count on it quite as much as I do knowing it is the love of the one who created all things and then holds them in order. Human love is kind of fickle - flitting here and there in search of the next best thing which stimulates the senses and provides some form of "perceived" satisfaction. God's love - it is HIS - so it is consistent with his character - no "flitting about" when it comes to his love!
His love NEVER quits - In the face of doubt, it stands strong. In the midst of despair, it provides hope. In the presence of pressure, it holds up better than the strongest metal known to man. It endures - remains consistent - and at no time is without focus. The focus of his love? You, me, the guy or gal right next to you, and the next one you see, and all those you don't see! WE are the focus of his love - and WE can count on it being the kind of love which lasts, and lasts, and lasts, into infinity.
Quitting is NOT optional with him - In the face of all life brings, God stands at the ready to intervene. This watchful love is something which can give us anchor in the storm and peace in the presence of some pretty terrifying things. For us, quitting is the norm. For him, it isn't even in his vocabulary! If it were up to us, love would fizzle out at the first appearance of the tough stuff, but his love "fizzle-proof". Don't believe me? Then just consider the extent of his love in just a few of the illustrations we have in the Bible:
- Adam and Eve were given the prime place of residence, with all the accouterments of their dreams. Water flowed without priming a pump - so sweet and refreshing. Food was at their disposal without having to till the earth. They didn't even need to concern themselves with the latest fads or wardrobes because clothing wasn't even a concern! Yet, even "having it all" didn't keep them from wanting more! Aren't we just like that? We have been given so much, but we yearn for what is just outside of our reach. Even when they failed to recognize the significance of their blessings, God loved them (and us!).
- Moses ought not to have had life if Pharaoh had his way. The infant males of the Israelites were to be killed at birth - yet his life was spared in a moment of trusting faith. We know so little about the mother of Moses - but we do know she had the ability to believe - to hope, to trust, and to act upon her belief. As she set his tiny infant body afloat in the wee pitch-covered basked on the river that day, do you think she may have just been a little more than hopeful of God's love never quitting? I think so! Do you think she believed God had great things for this tiny life? I think she knew for sure there was a calling upon his life. She acted on what she knew - God hadn't failed her yet, wasn't going to fail her now, and would not fail her or her son in the future!
- Peter messed up repeatedly, yet he experienced some of the most profound expressions of God's love possible. He couldn't quite figure out when it was the right time to speak and the best time to keep quiet - yet God's love tenderly embraced him, correcting his perceptions, and helping him to see things through God's eyes. When his temper got the best of him, causing harm to another's life, God's love restored not only the damage he'd done to the other guy, but it embraced him and settled upon him with the peace of knowing God was in control. Even when he couldn't stand for the one he professed his love and allegiance to, God's love sought him out and ensured his restoration into close, intimate fellowship. Peter knew the love of God never quit - simply because he needed the "consistency" of its restorative power so very often!
We can learn from these examples, and all the others we are given deep within the accounts of the Bible. We need to learn from them and we need to learn from each other - God's love never quits. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever! Just sayin!