April 1

2 Samuel 16-18, Psalm 91

Many words lose their meaning over time, due to overuse and broadening its outreach. One such word is, “love”. The same word is used for loving pizza, loving the New York Yankees, loving our spouses and loving God. Obviously, we should not have an equal level of love for these items. The highest form of love is the Greek word, “agape”. It is an unconditional, unmerited, unilateral love toward another. This is how God loves us. When we sin, we often mistakenly believe if we could only improve ourselves then God would love us more. This is how the world conditionally loves, but not how God unconditionally loves. God’s love is perfect and is never changing. This is the form of love which Jesus modeled in the Gospel accounts and the type of love which John emphasized in his letter, 1 John. When we truly realize what this level of love entails, it should humble us all, seeing how far we are from the example of Jesus.

We see in today’s reading a beautiful picture of God’s heart. In 2 Samuel 18:33, David said, “O my son Absalom-my son, my son Absalom-if only I had died in your place! “. Though Absalom had done nothing worthy of love: he slept with his father’s concubines, killed one of his sons, and seized the kingdom, it never changed David’s heart and his love for his son. His mourning continues in 2 Samuel 19, as we read in verse 1, “And Joab was told, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom”.

Like Absalom, we too are sinners completely not deserving God’s love. If we see ourselves any other way we miss the full measure of what Jesus did. Like David, God loved us so much that he wanted to take our place and die the death that we deserve. What David could not do, Jesus accomplished. Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. When we see earthly examples like David and especially Jesus, may it bring us all to our knees as we honestly reflect on how far we fall short from “agape” love.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato