THE LOVE OF GOD 3
The more the human being is despised, the more it is tread upon, the more it is humiliated, the more it needs love. The people of Israel were tired from the Egyptian oppression and from the heavy yoke. They paid heavy taxes and edified the cities Pithom and Ramses under great affliction. The male children were killed to prevent that the people multiplied (Ex. 1:8-14, 22). This people cried out to heaven for help. Then Jehovah talked to Moses, and said: “I have surely seen the affliction of my people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Ex. 3:7).
Jehovah, then, promised: “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). The people sensed love in these words from heaven and marveled at the love and care of Jehovah. Moses, by the power of Jehovah and the plagues, delivered the people and took them to Mount Sinai.
There, Jehovah dictated the Ten Commandments from the midst of darkness and a terrible storm. There was also a loud noise. The picture was so dark that Moses trembled with terror (Heb. 12:18-21). The people, even more terrified than Moses, cried out: “Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex. 20:19). The people felt love in the first dialogue because of the promises. In this second dialogue they felt threatened, for Jehovah readily promised to visit the sins of the parents on the children until the third and fourth generations. Anyone that worked on Saturday, even for necessity, should be stoned (Ex. 20:4-6; Num. 15:32-36). The people, hungry and thirsty (but already afraid of the other side of Jehovah), murmured in a low voice. Jehovah, then, full of anger, when they were still eating, killed the chosen of Israel (Ps. 78:18-31). They felt like the woman who is deceived. Before marriage: promises of glory. After marriage: beating. That poor people, chastised by the Egyptian slavery, did not know the love of God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jehovah declares that he submitted them to servitude comparable to the servitude of the tyrants of this world. “And when Jehovah saw that they humbled themselves, the word of Jehovah came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves: I will not destroy them; but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants, that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries” (2 Chr. 12:7-8). The apostle Peter declares that the people of Israel could not bear the yoke of the kingdoms of Jehovah (Acts 15:1-10). And the Holy Spirit agreed with the opinion of Peter (Acts 15:28).
Let us continue to analyze the greatness of the love of God, narrated by Paul in 1 Cor. 13:4-7. Verse 4was analyzed in the Leaflet 2. We will now analyze verse 5, which says, “Love … does not behave itself unseemly, does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.”
- Jehovah proclaimed a high morality. A priest could not marry any woman who had been repudiated, widow, dishonored, or prostitute woman, but only the virgins of their people (Lev. 21:14). If the woman who had been repudiated married a second time, and this second husband died, the first one, who repudiated her, could not take her back (Deut. 24:1-4). The adulterers were stoned (Lev. 20:10). But Jehovah forced Isaiah, the prophet, to walk naked and barefooted for three years, to symbolize the disgrace of Egypt and of Ethiopia, which, overcome by Sargon, king of Assyria, would go into captivity naked, with the buttocks uncovered (Is. 20:1-4). Now, if Jehovah made Isaiah to walk naked for three years, he was the author of the nakedness of Egypt and Ethiopia. With what finality? He did not save any of them. Was it only to show their buttocks? This is an indecency. Another case happened with Hosea, who was forced by Jehovah to marry a prostitute, with which he had three children of prostitution, symbolizing the sins of Israel (Hos. 1:2-9). What did Hosea do with those children? And what did he do with his prostitute wife, mother of his children? This was one more indecency of Jehovah. When David began to rule in the place of Saul, who Jehovah hated, Jehovah gave him Saul’s women, in fulfillment of the curses (2 Sam. 12:7-8; Deut. 28:30; Jr. 8:10). Indecencies of Jehovah. David, carnal, committed a shameful adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, and Jehovah promises, as punishment, to give his wives to his neighbor (2 Sam. 12:11). David had, besides his seventeen wives, ten concubines that he had left to keep the house (2 Sam. 20:3). Jehovah gave these women to Absalom, son of David, in a public and indecent show (2 Sam. 16:21-23). Enough with indecencies. Love, though, “does not behave itself unseemly” (1 Cor. 13:5).
- Love does not seek its own interests. Interest places the person ahead of all other things; so interest is selfish. Jehovah said: “When Israel was a youth I loved him” (Hos. 11:1). In Ps. 78:59 Jehovah declares that he hated Israel. Why this brusque change? EXPEDIENCY, for Israel did not correspond to his plans. Another of Jehovah’s declarations says, “every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made” (Is. 43:7). Israel was created to manifest the glory of Jehovah, therefore, there was a special interest on the part of Jehovah to create it. Pure expediency. Differently from Jesus, who gave his life to save lost sinners and did not seek any glory (Gal. 1:4; John 8:50). Jehovah formed a kingdom to be its king. There in Sinai, before giving the Law, he said: “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Seven hundred and seventy seven years later he spoke through Isaiah: “I am Jehovah, your Holy One, creator of Israel, your God.” Israel was a springboard for Israel to rule over the nations. “For the kingdom is Jehovah’s; and he is the ruler over the nations” (Ps. 22:28). The psalmist said: “Jehovah reigns, let the peoples tremble” (Ps. 99:1). And Jesus declared: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Paul confirms it in 2 Tim. 4:18. Peter does, too. (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Jehovah reigns through violence (Ezek. 20:33). And Jesus reigns through love (Col. 1:12-13).
- Love thinks no evil. What does it mean to think evil ⁄ to take evil into account? It is an unfavorable belief, accompanied of distrust. It means to doubt the honesty of someone without proof. To suspect, imagine the existence of a plot or infidelity. Jehovah suspected his own people, saying: “You shall remember all the way which Jehovah your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not” (Deut. 8:2). Those who suspect of evil seek to test the other, to confirm their suspicion. Jehovah does it because he does not love. Whoever loves does not suspect evil, even if there is reason for it.
Hezekiah was an excellent king, for he commanded the purification of the temple, in the first place (2 Chr. 29:3-6). After that, Hezekiah reestablishes the worship of Jehovah (2 Chr. 29:31-34). Hezekiah calls upon all the people to celebrate a great Passover, and urges the people to be converted to Jehovah (2 Chr. 30:1-9). They were seven days of celebration (2 Chr. 30:21). Hezekiah regulates the turns of priests and Levites (2 Chr. 31:2). In this atmosphere of high spirituality among the people, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invades Judah. Hezekiah prays to Jehovah and he sends an angel who killed 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35). After that, the king of Babylon sent messengers with gifts to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:12-13). Jehovah mistrusted Hezekiah and raised suspicions about his faithfulness. It happened like this: “However in [the business of] the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart” (2 Chr. 32:31). After all of what Hezekiah did, repairing and purifying the temple, restoring the worship of Jehovah, organizing the Levites and the priests to minister in the sanctuary, it was absurd to suspect his honesty and faithfulness. But love does not take evil into account.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira