7 For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Why does God do it? Is it because Israel is more lovable than other nations? No. Is it because Israel is faithful to Yahweh? No. There is nothing in Israel that is loveable to God. Israel was disobedient to God’s commandments. Israel was idolatrous—following other gods. Israel was unfaithful to God’s covenant. But God chose to love Israel; and so God shall restore Israel.
Have you seen an ugly face? Can you describe one? Maybe you will say that an ugly face has chubby eyes, fat lips, short nose, really bad teeth, and a face full of warts and blackheads. He has bad breath, uncleaned teeth, dis-aligned mouth, and worse, a disgusting personality.
There is nothing in us that is loveable to God. We are sinners, ugly sinners. Morally, we are people of bad breath, uncleaned teeth, of chubby eyes, fat lips, dis-aligned mouths, and our personality, disgusting.
But God says, I love you, not because you are beautiful or handsome, but because it is my nature to love according to my will, purposes, knowledge, and justice. I commend my love to you, in that while you were yet sinners, Christ died for you (Rom. 5:8).
I John 4:10-11, “this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” There are two big differences between our love and God’s love. Our love dictates our will most of the time. But God’s love agrees perfectly with God’s will all the time. God loves you because God wills to love you to the praise of His glorious grace.
Now John is telling us to love one another, as God has loved us. Do you have an unlovable husband, child, or co-worker? You are to love him not because he is lovable. You are to love her as God has loved you, with a love that works with the will to love, despite her “unlovableness.”
Do you know of someone you don’t like? Because you have been transformed by the Gospel, you have the divine capacity to love the unloving. You are to set your love for her or him not because he or she is lovable, but because God has loved you with his own character, and not from your own loveliness or unloveliness. Love him, then, because God first loved you.