“The Lord, your God, has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your father, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery…Understand, then, that the Lord, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments.”
(Deuteronomy 7:6, 8-9)
The Old Testament is replete with passages that remind the people of Israel that they are God’s chosen people. Yet, just as often, it is quick to remind them, lest they get too prideful, that this is because of the Lord’s goodness, not because of anything remarkable they have done.
“Therefore if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine.” (Exodus 19: 5)
We are His people and the flock He shepherds. He has a deep love for us. He thirsts for us. However, this is not because of anything we have done. The Lord doesn’t love us or choose us because we are the most faithful. Or because we are the most successful. Rather, He continues to love us because He is love and He is good.
As we are called to repentance particularly during this time of Lent, we are impelled to remember that this is possible because of who the Lord is. “For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” (Joel 2:13)
Since He loves me independently of anything good or admirable that I do, it also follows that He will persist in loving me despite my unlovely or bad actions. He doesn’t sway in affections like I do. He remains steadfast because His love is rooted in the very fact that we are.
We were created out of an overflow of Love. That love isn’t revoked when we fail to stay in communion with God. It is a love that is truly unconditional. The Lord is gracious and merciful. May we strive to love others with the love that God has shown toward us. An indifferent, overflowing, unrelenting love grounded in the fact that it is good that the other exists.