Love of God In the Prophets
Fred Coulter – December 6, 1995

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Greetings everyone! We have to preface some things that we find as recorded in the Law because everything that is done in the Prophets then is prefaced by what God gave in the Law.

Let's see what God desired and has always desired, and what God wants, Deuteronomy 6:5: "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." This is what God has always wanted. This is what God really started to do with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Then we come down to the time of Jesus, and one of the things that He said was this exact quote right here of loving God in this way. This is what God has desired, and this is what God wants us to do. This is what God wanted Israel to do.

Verse 6: And these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart." That's what God wants with the New Testament, too. He wants all of these words to be in our heart.

The First Commandment:

Let's see exactly, right in the Law, the giving of the Law, Deuteronomy 5:7: "You shall have no other gods before Me." That's the first commandment. Let's understand something that is absolutely true today: When you change the nature and understanding of God and accept a teaching and doctrine contrary to the teachings in the Bible, you have the wrong god!

That's why. if you have the wrong god, then everything else from there is askew or wrong, or as we have learned, once you change the nature of God you change all the doctrines, and that's what we have seen.

The Second Commandment:

Verse 8: You shall not make a graven image for yourself of any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters beneath the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me" (vs 8-9).

In the Old Testament and in the Prophets we are going to see that there is love and hate. Those things are important that we understand. If you don't love God you hate God. Now I'm sure there are degrees in-between, but we don't want to be on the middle road. We want to be on the road, which is loving God the way that God has said, with all our heart, mind, and soul and being.

Verse 10: "But showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments."

Now we're going to see that this is also New Testament doctrine. We find that New Testament doctrine is based upon these very words of love that God gave clear back contained in the Law. So, when we discuss things with people, or you hear people say, 'It is either love or law.' No! It is both. You cannot have law without love, and you cannot have love without lawthey both go together, hand-in-glove.

1-John 5:2: "By this standard we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments."

Compare that with Deuteronomy 5:10: "But showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments." Are those not identically the same? We can also see with this another principle that is true: 'Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.' The Lord God Who became Jesus Christ in the New Testament was the one Who spoke the Ten Commandments here as recorded in Deut. 5, and He's the one that says, "Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

1-John 5:3: "For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." This is profound! All the way through the Scriptures we find that God is the same. However, under the covenant with Israel they did not have the Holy Spirit given to them so they were not able to enter into the complete personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ and fellowship with Them as we are able to do today, because that is a spiritual relationship.

Let's see some promises that God gave, because everything in the Prophets is based upon the Law and the Covenants. Now we covered this part of it in the Love of God in the Law and Psalms {#8 this series}

Deuteronomy 7:6 "For you are a Holy people…" I want you to think of the New Testament implications in this, because all the way through this study of the love of God, in the Prophets we are going to see the projection forward to the New Testament time and time again.

"For you are a Holy people to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you… [same thing in the New Testament—we must be chosen] …to be a special people to Himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love upon you…" (vs 6-7). We're going to see that Israel time and time again rejected that love.

  • we will see that God pleaded with them
  • we will see that God desired to love them
  • we will see that God desired to be loved by them

Verse 7: "The LORD did not set His love upon you nor choose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people. But because the LORD loved you and because He would keep the oath, which He had sworn to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondage from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (vs 7-8).

Based upon these foregoing statements we just read, He says, v 9: "Therefore, know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God Who keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him…"

This is exactly the same principle that Jesus said in John 14:15: "If you love Me, keep My commandments…" That's what Jesus said.

So, we have it right here, Deuteronomy 7:9: "Therefore, know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God Who keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations." I wonder how many blessings that we are recipients of because of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and David, and those faithful ones listed in the Old Testament? Just makes you wonder.

Now then, He gives a warning that He repays. Here we have love on the one hand, hate on the other hand, v 10[transcriber's correction]: "And he repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them.… [God works exactly the same way today] …He will not be slow to repay him who hates Him. He will repay him to his face."

So, we see in the Old Testament, we see in the Law, and we are going to see also in the Prophets, this love/hate kind of thing that goes on. We're also going to see another kind of love that is more prevalent in the Prophets because

  • the prophets were sent when the people sinned
  • The prophets were sent to warn the people that they were leaving God

—that they were not loving God; and because of that then God would have to repay them to their face.
In Proverbs 3 is some very important instruction for us, plus it also tells us more about the kind of love that the Prophets are talking about.

Proverbs 3:1: "My son, do not forget my law…" I want you to think in terms of New Testament doctrine also, because these things He says, 'My Son, forget not My Law.' Are we not the sons and daughters of God? Are we not going to be born into the Kingdom of God when Christ returns? Yes, we are!

"…do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commandments" (v 1). I want you to think as we are going through here about this connection with what we just read in Deut., and this connection with what we also read in 1-John and understand that here again we have God Who is 'the same yesterday, today and forever.'

Verse 2: "For they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace, to you. Do not let mercy and Truth forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them upon the tablet of your heart" (vs 2-3). Isn't that something? "…bind them around your neck; write them upon the tablet of your heart"! Make it a part of your living being, the way that you live! That's why throughout the Bible God's way is called 'the way of the Lord' because

  • it is a way to live
  • it is a way to think
  • it is a way to love
  • it is a way to guide our steps day-by-day

That's what we are to do with it.

Here's a promise, v 4: "And so you shall find favor… [grace, law, commandments, heart.] …and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart… [that's what Israel did not do, and that's why the prophets had to come] …and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (vs 4-6).

There's a tremendous promise! I never will forget a wonderful sermonette given by Mr. Crane, an Englishman. I remember years ago, no one had ever asked him to speak, but he knew his Bible, and when I visited him I thought he was outstanding. I asked him if he would give a sermonette, and he did. And the sermonette was just what I gave you right here. Wonderful! He said, 'At age 82, I've learned that this is the most important thing in life, right here.'

Brethren, can we also learn that as well? This is the most important thing in life, right here, because this is the foundational building block of building love.

Here's a warning; notice all the way through that there are warnings, v 7: Do not be wise in your own eyes…" It's absolutely true: We have nothing that we didn't receive! So, we don't need to be all lifted up and conceited about how good we are, or what we are, or how great we are, how much we know, or anything like this because there is the Scripture which says even though we know certain things we don't know things yet as we ought to know them. So it is with the Word of God, so it is with the love of God.

"…fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel and marrow to your bones" (vs 7-8). That means right down into your innermost being, because if you have never realized it, I'm sure most of us do today, the life is in the blood and the blood is manufactured in the morrow of the bones. So, this is getting right down into the very depths of your being

Verse 9: "Honor the LORD with your substance and with the firstfruits of all your increase; and your barns shall be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst with new wine (vs 9-10).

Here is part of the love of God, which is more prevalent in the Prophets than in any other place in the Bible, but this is also part of the love of God. We need to understand that maybe that's what God is doing this very day. Maybe we need to understand that in the Churches of God, God is exercising this love to get our attention so that we can truly come to God and then have a full-fledged relationship with Him in the way that He wants us to by loving Him with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our being.

Verse 11: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be weary of His correction... [there's going to be correction] …For whom the LORD loves He corrects…" (vs 11-12).

We also find this quote in Heb. 12, and we're also given some instruction there that we are to let the correction have its 'perfect work'; we are to lift up the hands that hang down; we are to look to God and be encouraged and not turn our backs and be bitter and end up as Esau who found no space of repentance because he did not accept that love of God. Esau ended up being the recipient of God's hatred.

Verse 12: "For whom the LORD loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights." That is to make us more like Him; that is to bring us into more conformity—especially New Testament Christians—with His Spirit so that we can grow in grace and knowledge, that we can understand more about God.

Let's go to the book of Deut. 18 for just a minute, because here's an important prophecy. We will see that almost all of the prophets key in on the Law and the things that we just read.

Here's a promise given, Deuteronomy 18:15: "The LORD your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, One like me. To Him you shall hearken…" That's a prophecy of Jesus Christ.

In v 18 He repeats it again but adds something else to it: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, One like you, and will put My words in His mouth.…" What we are going to see is this: All the words that the prophets have given; all the words that are recorded in all the Prophets are the words which come from God. They also fulfilled this. They came and they spoke the words of the Lord. All the way through the book of Ezekiel: 'The Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, saying, Son of man, say unto the children of Israel…' over and over again

"…And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him" (v 18). He's going to speak unto them all that He commanded. What did Jesus say? Jesus said, 'I speak nothing of Myself, I do nothing of My own. But what I hear the Father say, that's what I speak; what I see the Father do, that's what I do.'

Verse 19: "And it shall come to pass, whatever man will not hearken to My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him."

Let's see something that's very important concerning the love of God, and the way that God is, and the way that God wanted to treat Israel. Psalm 103:1: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." We're going to see one of the reasons why—even in the Prophets—that David is mentioned over and over again is because of this very attitude: David was truly loving God with all his heart, mind, soul and being. Yes, he had his faults and mistakes, and yes, he had his sins, and yes, they were forgiven, but this was the attitude that he had.

Verse 2: "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies" (vs 2-4). This is what God has always wanted to do with Israel. But Israel would not, therefore, God had to bring about the other warnings that He gave.

Verse 8: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy. He will not always chasten, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities" (vs 8-10). No, God does not do that. One of the most profound messages that we will find in the book of Ezekiel is to turn to God/return to God, all the way through.

Verse 11: "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him." Not only that, but just think about how His mercy is toward you when you love Him. There are really very few people in the whole history of the world that have truly loved God. I want you to think on that, and I want you to let that sink in, and I want you to understand what a great and a profound opportunity that we have that we can do that, brethren, with the Spirit of God. Then we can do those things that are pleasing to Him, just like it says there in Proverbs, the third chapter.

Verse 12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion upon his children, so the LORD has compassion  upon those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and its place shall know it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness is unto children's children, to those who keep His covenant… [because He said those who love Him and keep His covenant He would be with] …and to those who remember His precepts to do them" (vs 12-18). Tremendous blessing!

Psalm 107:41: "But He raises up the poor from affliction and sets their families like a flock…. [that's a prophecy of us] …The righteous shall see it and rejoice; and all iniquity shall stop its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him give heed to these things, and let them consider the mercies of the LORD" (vs 41-43). And that's what we want to do, brethren, is to understand the loving kindness of the Lord—to know His love, to know Him. Part of that is understanding how God operated in the Old Testament and showed His love.

Here's a profound section of Scripture. One of the reasons that God hated Esau was because he sold his birthright and turned his back on the commandments of God and he refused to repent. That's what God hates so He makes this statement:

Malachi 1:1: "The burden of the Word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. 'I have loved you,' says the LORD. 'But you say, "In what way do You love us?"….'" (vs 1-2). Most people don't understand that even in the world they're still operating because of the love of God.

Remember, Jesus Christ is the author of physical life and spiritual life, so all of those people in the world who are enjoying all of these blessings that they have, it's because of the love of God. But they do the same thing that Israel has done. 'Where has God loved us?'

So God says: "'…Was not Esau Jacob's brother?' says the LORD. 'Yet I loved Jacob. And I hated Esau and made his mountains a desolation, and his inheritance to be for the jackals of the wilderness.' If Edom says, "We are beaten down…"'" (vs 2-4). Esau didn't accept the correction of God; he turned around and rebelled against God; he turned around to go take again that which God had taken from him and he was going to recapture that which he sold.

"'"…but we will return and build the waste places,"—thus says the LORD of hosts, 'They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall be called the border of wickedness, and the people with whom the LORD is indignant forever'" (vs 1-4). We don't want to be on that side of the fence, brethren.

"'And your eyes shall see, and you shall say, "The LORD will be magnified beyond the border of Israel." A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My fear?'—says the LORD of hosts to you, 'O priests who despise My name. And you say, "In what way do we despise Your name?"'" (vs 5-6).

We find the same thing today: there are many ministers and teachers out there who despise the name of God. They don't want to teach what is right. They don't want to teach what the Word of God has. They don't want to teach what God is saying. No, they want to teach their own thing in the name of God, and they turn around and they say this:

Verse 7: "'You offer defiled bread upon My altar.…'" The Word of God is the bread of life—is it not? So, if they offer polluted bread upon His altar, spiritually speaking, what are they doing? They're offering their own ideas, and their own philosophies, and their own ways, and their own thoughts all the way through.

"'…And you say, "In what way do we defile You?" In your saying, "The table of the LORD is contemptible."'" (v 7). Are we all not called to the table of the Lord? Yes, we are—the wedding supper of the Lamb—correct? Yes! They're saying, 'Well, God doesn't mean this, and God doesn't mean that, and God doesn't mean the other thing.'

Verse 8: "'And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?…. [That's the same as offering the Word of God and not having a clue as to what it's all about.] …And if you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it now to your governor. Will he be pleased with you, or accept your person?' says the LORD of hosts. 'And now entreat the favor of God, that He will be gracious unto you. This has been by your own hand—and now will He show regard for you?' says the LORD of hosts" (vs 8-9).

The whole sum of the chapter is that they have profaned God's way by saying, 'Yea, God has not said'—when God has said.

"…I have no pleasure in you,' says the LORD of hosts. 'I will not accept an offering from your hand'" (v 10). No! We're finding that too much in the Church of God with the ministers and with the brethren, that God is not having pleasure in them. As I wrote in a recent letter, could this be the year of visitation for the Churches of God? I mean, we need to think upon that.

Verse 12: "'But you are profaning it… [that is the way of God and the table of God] …when you say, "The table of the LORD, it is polluted; and its fruit, His food, is contemptible.".… [Then he says, 'Oh my, it's going to be bad.'] …You also said, "Behold, what a weariness it is!"….'" (vs 12-13). They're wearied with God's way. 'Oh we need to get rid of these burdensome sacrifices. It's way too much for us. We are a New Testament church,' is the way that they would put it.

"'…And you have snuffed at it in contempt,' says the LORD of hosts. 'And you bring that which was taken by violence, and the lame, and the sick, and thus you brought an offering. Should I accept it from your hand?' says the LORD" (v 13).

Now think of this spiritually! This is what Israel did. This is why they had to be corrected so severely, because they were doing this at the temple; they were doing this with the priesthood; they were doing this with the offerings of God and the worship of God through the Old Covenant, and He says, 'Will this be accepted?' No,

Verse 14: "'But cursed be a deceiver who has in his flock an acceptable male—yet he vows and sacrifices to the LORD a blemished one… [In other words they are there and they know they are doing wrong, and they know better.] …for I am a great King,' says the LORD of hosts, 'and My name is feared among the nations.'"

Malachi 2:1: "'And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.'" Then He goes on showing, because they have been partial in the Law, that He's going to spread the dung upon their faces, even their solemn feasts. So, God had some pretty strong and stout words to say because they didn't love God.

Now we're going to see some very important things here in the book of Ezekiel, and this is something that is absolutely true today, and this is part of the love of God, which is the correction of God. If we can do as the Apostle Paul said; if we can take all these things that happened to them in the Old Testament as examples for us that we don't do the same thing. The grace of God does not give us license to go sin. No, Paul says we establish law; we establish love because of the grace of God.

So, God gave this warning. Here was Ezekiel, he had to go and preach a very dire and terrible warning message. I tell you, if there's one man I would not want to be, and if there's one ministry I would not want to have that would be the ministry of Ezekiel. You read it. He had the toughest 'row to hoe' of any of the prophets of God. And here's what God said:

Ezekiel 3:17: "Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel. Therefore hear the word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me." As I said, all the way through all the prophets, all the prophets gave the Word of God, they spoke the Word of God.

Verse 18: "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die'; and you do not give him warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked one shall die in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at your hand." That lays the responsibility upon the prophet. This also lays the responsibility upon any of the teachers of God today.

Verse 19: "Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness…"—which is part of the love of God. God wants them to experience this love. God wants them to receive this correction that He can give His tender mercies and loving kindness to them.

"…nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. And when the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness. which he has done. shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous so that the righteous does not sin, and if he does not sin, he shall surely live because he is warned; also you have delivered your soul" (vs 19-21).

This is true in everything throughout the Scriptures, brethren. This is something most important that we need to realize and understand.

Ezekiel 16 has to do with God's love for Israel, has to do with God calling Israel. He rehearses all the history of calling her out of Egypt; rehearses all of the history of the good things that He did for her. You know, God also shows His love by His creation. God also shows His love by the good things that He gives to people. That's why He wants them to love Him in return. But too many people don't love God; they don't care for God. They want all these things in their covetousness, just like Esau, but they don't want to give themselves to God. God gave that history.

Ezekiel 16:8: "'And I passed by you and looked on you, and, behold, your time was the time of love. And I spread my skirt over you and covered your nakedness. And I swore to you and entered into a covenant with you,' says the Lord GOD. 'And you became Mine.'" In other words this was the marriage ceremony of the covenant with Israel that He made with them (Exo. 20-24).

Verse 9: "And I washed you with water… [I want you to think about how God has done this with us. Are we not washed with water? Yes, we are—baptism!] …I washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered work, and I shod you with leather sandals. And I wrapped you in fine linen, and I covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head" (vs 9-12). That's how God treated Israel: gave her the best of everything that there was. And God was with them.

Verse 13: "'And you were adorned with gold and silver; and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered work. You ate fine flour and honey and oil; and you were exceedingly beautiful. And you advanced into a kingdom. And your name went out among the nations because of your beauty; for it was perfect My splendor, which I had put on you,' says the Lord GOD. 'But you trusted in your beauty...'" (vs 13-15). Looked to her own self, looked to her own devices, looked just the same thing as Satan did. A take off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 'Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all.' And Israel said, 'Why, I am.'

"'…and played the harlot because of your name, and poured out your fornications on all who passed by—on any who would have it'" (v 15). And furthermore He says, 'you were worse than whores. You paid your lovers.' Is that not what we are doing today? You wait and see! The latest fornication is Bosnia, and we are going to pay through the nose. Then God said that He had to judge her. God said He had to just completely waste her because she did all these horrible and miserable things.

Verse 43: "Because you have not remembered … [we need to remember] …the days of your youth, but have troubled Me in all these things…" Just like in a marriage when a marriage goes sour then the one who is the victim of it—in this case being God—is fettered with all of those problems and difficulties and has to live with the emptiness and the loneliness and the anger. But God has the power to correct. They didn't remember those things.

"'…so, behold, I will also repay your own way upon your head,' says the Lord GOD. 'And you shall no longer commit this wickedness above all your abominations. Behold, all who use proverbs shall use this proverb against you, saying, "As is the mother, so is her daughter."'" That's exactly what the United States has become, just as old mother Israel.

Verse 45: "You are your mother's daughter, who despises her husband and her sons. And you are the sister of your sisters, who despise their husbands and their sons. Your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite. And your older sister is Samaria, she and her daughters who dwell at your left hand. And your younger sister, who dwells at your right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet you have not only walked according to their ways, nor have only done according to their hateful deeds; but, as if it were a very little thing, you were even corrupted more than they were in all your ways" (vs 45-47). In other words He's talking to Judah now.

Verse 48: "'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'neither Sodom your sister, nor her daughters, have done as you have done, you and your daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom; pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters. Nor did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy" (vs 48-49). But then He goes on to say 'you, Judah, have done worse.' As we know from the New Testament they entered into league and alliance with Satan the devil and made Satan their god and rejected God.

In spite of all of this, the love of God still is pleading with the children of Israel. God in His mercy, God in His love, God in His graciousness still understands this. Now He gave the warning; repeated the warning, that He gave in Ezek. 3, that we read in the first part of Ezek. 33.

Then He says, Ezekiel 33:11: "Say to them, 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD…" This is based upon the very existence of God. God wants you to know because of His very existence, living eternally, as He lives.

"…'I have no delight in the death of the wicked… [God has no pleasure at all in it. Sometimes they must die. But He still has no pleasure in it.] …except that the wicked turn from his way, and live…'" (v 11). This is the whole pleading of the prophets. If you could say there's anything in all of the Prophets, which expressed the love and grace of God, this is it right here in Ezekiel—'that you would turn and live.'

"'…Turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?'" (v 11).

  • God wanted them to accept His correction.
  • God wanted them to receive it.
  • God wanted them to understand that He loved them.
  • God wanted them to know that He wanted them to come back to Him.

Just like He said, 'Those that love Me and keep My commandments, I will honor unto a thousand generations.' Now they're kind of a religious people. They're doing their way.

Verse 30: "'And you, son of man, the children of your people are still talking about you by the walls, and in the doors of the houses, and speaking to one another, each man to his brother, saying, 'I pray you, come and hear what is the word which comes forth from the LORD.' And they come to you as the people come, and they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words.…" (vs 30-31).

I would say this is a perfect description of almost nearly all Sunday services that you would have anywhere; perfect description of many Sabbath services that you would have in many places. They come and sit before God, because are we not coming to God? Are we not coming and saying, 'God, we're asking You to bless this meeting. God, we're asking You to be here in presence'? Yes!

So they come "…and they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words. But they will not do them. For with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness" (v 31) Their love is feigned. Their love is not real. Oh yes, they have sweet words. They have nice sayings, but they go after their covetousness.

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Verse 32: "And lo, you are to them as a singer of love songs with a beautiful voice, and able to play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass; (behold, it will come) then they shall know that a prophet has been among them" (vs 32-33).
We don't know exactly how this is going to fulfill in the end-time, but we do know that we see these principles involved right now. There are many people who are turning their back on God because of the things that they see and perceive. They don't have the love, they don't have the zeal that Jesus Christ did. They don't love righteousness and hate iniquity, which we need to do. Oh no, they would rather have it their own way.

Amos 3 is so profound for us. We need to understand some very basic things here, which then will help give us the understanding on how we need to come back to God, but also how that Israel refused the love of God time and time again, and turned her love toward all of the harlots. So, God says, here:

Amos is pleading with them again, Amos 3:1 "Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, 'You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities'" (vs 1-2). This is part of the love of God, part of the chastisement that comes.

Verse 3: "'Can two walk together unless they be agreed?'" This is what it really gets down to. When we realize and understand that God has created us, God has made us, God has brought forth everything that there is, we have to agree with God. With human beings you can work out different compromises because no human being is perfect. But God is perfect so our agreement must be with Him. If we are to walk in the way of the Lord, if we're to walk with God then we must agree with Him in everything.

Because of their sins, let's come to Amos 4:11[transcriber's correction]: "'I have overthrown some among you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand plucked out of the burning; yet you have not returned to Me,' says the LORD." God is saying, 'Look, I gave some punishment to some of you, and I plucked some of you out of the fire as you pluck a firebrand out of the fire and yet you still didn't return. I gave you an opportunity but you didn't take it.'

Verse 12: "'Therefore, I will do this to you, O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!'" Brethren, we need to be prepared to meet our God. There are many things coming down right now, which are coming right to the end of the age. And some of these things are going to come so fast that if we're not prepared to meet God with the love of God, then we're going to be in grave difficulty with Him.

Verse 13: "For lo, He forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what his thought is. He who makes the morning darkness, and treads upon the high places of the earth—the LORD, the God of hosts, is His name."

Amos 5:1-2: "Hear this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. The virgin of Israel has fallen; she shall rise no more; she lies forsaken on her land. There is none to raise her up" (vs 1-2). Now this is going to come upon this land. We can see the seeds of this destruction already sown.

God also gives this in the way of returning. Amos 5:10: "They hate him who rebukes… [they won't listen] …in the gate, and they despise him who speaks uprightly…. [It's going to be turned upside down and backward.] …Therefore—because of your trampling upon the poor, and because you take tribute of grain from him—though you have built houses of carved stone, you shall not dwell in them; though you have planted desirable vineyards, you shall not drink wine from them, for I know your many transgressions and your many sins. They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate. Therefore, the prudent shall keep silent in that time; for it is an evil time" (vs 10-13).

  • What are we to do when the times are evil?
  • How are we to come to God?

Verse 14: "Seek good and not evil… [but today most people are seeking evil] …that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as you have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph" (vs 14-15). That's what it needs to be with the remnant of the Church.

Let's go to the book of Micah, chapter 6, and here God pleads with Israel; God pleads with His people. After all the correction and after all the things are done God says, 'Let's make it right. Let's make things good.'

He says in Micah 6:3: "O My people, what have I done to you? And in what way have I made you weary? Testify against Me!…. [God says to bring your cause to Me.] …For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of slaves; and I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam before you. O My people, remember now what Balak king of Moab planned… [v 6]: …With what shall I come before the LORD…" (vs 3-6). How is a person going to come before the Lord? That's what He's saying here.

to bow myself before God the Most High? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?…." (vs 6-7). No! God said that to love God—Who is more than all sacrifice—to obey was greater than all burnt offerings. Yes, indeed!

"…Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my life? He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?" (vs 7-8). This has been the plea of God all the way through.

Let's look at it again in the book of Jeremiah. God has always wanted to love Israel and Judah, but they did not want to respond to love God. Let's think of that today in our own circumstances. We want the love of God, we want the blessings of God, but we are also to respond and love God in the way that He wants us to with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our being.

Jeremiah 2:1: "And the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, "Thus says the LORD, 'I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothals, when you went after Me in the wilderness…'"'" (vs 1-2)—and said, 'Yes Lord, all that You say we will do.'

"'"'…in a land not sown. Israel was Holiness to the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him shall be held guilty; evil shall come on them,' says the LORD."' Hear the Word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD, 'What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me and have walked after vanity, and have become vain? Nor did they say, "Where is the LORD Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits…"'" (vs 2-6)—and brought us to this land (v 7)

Verse 8: "The priests did not say, 'Where is the LORD?' And they who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also rebelled against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal and walked after things that do not profit." Then you go through all the book of Jeremiah and it is just one plea with the people: turn from your ways, turn from your sins, turn back to Me.

Jeremiah 4:1: "'If you will return, O Israel,' says the LORD… [Is this not the same thing we read in Ezekiel?] …'Return to Me. And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be removed… ['I'll repent of the evil I thought of to do to you,' said God. 'You won't be removed.'] …and will swear, "As the LORD lives," in Truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; then the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him they shall glory'" (vs 1-2). But no, they didn't want to do it. It got so bad that God told Jeremiah, 'Look, I want you to do this…'

Let's turn to Jeremiah 5:1: "Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in her open places, if you can find a man… [just one man in sincerity and in Truth—just one man!] …if there is one who does justice, who seeks the Truth; and I will pardon her." For the sake of one man God was going to say, and He did, 'I will forgive all the sins of Jerusalem.' That's a tremendous amount of love to be able to even say that.

Verse 2: "And though they say, 'As the LORD lives'; surely they swear falsely." He couldn't even find one. He said, "Yea, even the prophets and priests and all the people are profane. Every one runs after his own thing."

Let's come to the book of Isaiah now and let's see how God continually pleaded with Israel out of His deep love for them. God says, "I loved you." And when we finish this we will see how much God really has loved Israel.

Isaiah 43:1: "But now thus says the LORD Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel; 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.'" Think of that for us today. Think of the promise that Jesus said, 'To the one that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne as I overcame and am sat down in My Father's throne. To him that overcomes will be a pillar in the temple of My God, and I will write upon him My new name and the name of new Jerusalem, and the name of My Father and My new name, and he shall go out no more.' Think of that—we are called by His name!

Verse 2: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle on you, for I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you. Since you are precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you…" (vs 2-4).

God says to Israel, 'I have loved you.' How many times have the people of Israel turned back the love of God? Oh yes, they want the pleasant words!

God says: "…therefore, I will give men for you, and people for your life. Fear not; for I am with you.…" (vs 4-5). God would be with them anytime they wanted. That's all God wanted them to do, was to love Him back. That's all! Just to come to God and say,

  • God, I love You
  • God, thank You for what You have given
  • God, help me to love You
  • Let me walk in Your ways

But oh no, they wouldn't do that. The whole thing is just, you know, one after the other, just turning back from God continually.

We're going to see many of these things now project forward to the Church. God knew in the book of Isaiah that they would not return. He's talking about the things that relate to us. Here's what God said to them:

Isaiah 55:6: "Seek the LORD while He may be found…" I tell you, that is so profound for us today. There are many people that need to seek the Lord while He can be found because this is telling us there's going to be a time when He won't be found. We need to do that in the Church today—all of the brethren—seek God! Stop the stupidity of playing religion. Stop the stupidity of idolizing a man and an organization. Seek God!

"…call upon Him while He is near… [He is near. Jesus said, 'Ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened.'] …Let the wicked forsake his way… [that's what we need to do] …and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the LORD… [Again, through the love of God return to the Lord! That's why all of the correction goes out.] …and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (vs 6-7).

Here's one thing that is true and we need to know and understand and realize, v 8: "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways,' says the LORD…. [God has called us to a way that is so great, and so mighty, and so good, and so profound.] …'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" (vs 8-9). God wants Israel to return. He wants us to return. God is pleading out of His love for Israel and out of His love for us.

Verse 10: "'For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater.'" We are the seed and we are eating the bread of life, which is Christ.

Verse 11: "So shall My Word be which goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall certainly do what I sent it to do."

Can we let that be with us today with God that God's Word can go out and do what He wants it to do in our lives. Listen, God is scattering the Church for very, very good reasons, and we will learn more as to why God is scattering the Church. But while He is scattering, that's part of the correction that God is giving the Church, just like He gave Israel to exile them and send them off into captivity.

  • While we are scattered, will we learn?
  • While we are scattered, will we seek God?
  • While we are alone in the quiet moments of our own time and our own lives, will we seek to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our being?
  • Will we hear the pleadings of God's love through the prophets for us?

Isaiah 56:1: "Thus says the LORD, 'Keep justice and do righteousness; for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed…. [we're sitting right at the verge at the end of the age] …Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it… [not throwing away the Sabbath and saying any day is good enough] … and keeps his hand from doing any evil'" (vs 1-2). You have to live the way of God by keeping your hand from doing evil, and you have to keep the Sabbath.

Verse 6: "Also the sons of the stranger, who join themselves to the LORD to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and takes hold of My covenant." Brethren, this is a prophecy of the New Covenant.

God gives this promise in His love. He says, Isaiah 57:15: "For thus says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity… [What is it going to be like, brethren, to live with God in eternity? A whole different level of existence! It's going to be magnificent indeed.] …Whose name is Holy; 'I dwell in the high and Holy place… [where God's throne is] …even with the one who is of a contrite and humble spirit…'" God wants to dwell in us and with us and with His Spirit, and to really truly have that relationship that He wants us to have to love Him.

"…to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (v 15). Isn't that something? That's what God wants!

Here's a tremendous part of the thing that we need to know, part of God's Word, Isaiah 63:7: "I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD… [That's what we need to talk about. Brethren, if the love of God is absolutely the greatest then we need to mention it time and time again.] …the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great good to the house of Israel by which He bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His loving kindnesses…. [that leads us to the deep and profound love of God] …For He said, 'Surely they are My people, children that will not lie.' So He was their Savior" (vs 7-8). That's talking about us! That's why we need to come to this same point here.

Let's go to Psalm 63 to see the attitude that God has always wanted; that God has desired from Israel; that God through the Psalms and the Law, and now the Prophets; to understand what God wants—this needs to be the model that we need to have in seeking the love of God, because there can't be any greater. Paul said that love is the greatest of all. Love is the gift of God, but we have to respond just like David did here. We have to come to this point in our attitude, in our hearts, and in our minds in serving God.

Psalm 63:1: "O God, You are my God, earnestly I will seek You!.… [we need to put God first in everything] …My soul thirsts for You. My flesh longs for You, as in a dry and thirsty land where no water is." That you can drink in of the Spirit of God, that you can drink in of the Word of God, that you can drink in of the love of God. He says, 'I will seek You early.' Jesus gave the promise that if we seek, we will find; if we ask, we will receive; if we knock, it's going to be opened.

Verse 2: "To see Your power and Your glory—as I have seen You in the sanctuary. Because Your loving kindness is better than life…" (vs 2-3). The whole love of God is better than life. It is better than anything we could have in this entire world. Think about that! It's better than life. What is the most important and profound thing that you can do? To love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being! That's the whole lesson of the whole Bible, brethren.

  • Can we not grow in that love?
  • Can we not grow in that grace?
  • Can we not take these lessons—which are examples for us—and apply them to our lives and see what God will do for us?
  • Yes!

That's all that God ever wanted of Israel, and that's what God wants of us.

Verse 4: "Thus I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness… [it shall be 'health to your navel and to your morrow' (Prov. 3)] … and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips."

Verse 8: My soul follows hard after You; Your right hand upholds me." Jesus is at the right hand of God, and He's got His right hand to uphold you if you follow hard after Him. That is tremendous!

Now let's see how this carries through also to the prophets, showing the love of God and this desire that God wants us to have. Here's what God wants to do. Can God do this for us? I know this is talking about Israel, but are we not spiritual Israel? Can we not, as the Church of God, come to this point? It's got to come from God.

There are many 'politicians' out there trying to get the people of God together in their own 'political little organizations.' I tell you on the Word of God, it's going to fail! It is not going to work!

Here's what needs to be, v Jeremiah 32:39: "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their good and for the good of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good. But I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will truly plant them… [Are we not plants before God (Matt. 13, the parable of the sower)?] … in this land with all My heart and all My whole soul" (vs 39-41). If you're whole hearted to God, will He be whole hearted back to you? Absolutely, yes, without a doubt!

Jeremiah 33:14—here's a promise. This also has to do with the Church; it also has to do with David because David sought God: 'Behold, the days come,' says the LORD, 'that I will establish the good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, I will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up to David. And He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely. And this is the name with which she shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.' For thus says the LORD, 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel" (vs 14-17). And the chief one to do that is Jesus Christ. Think of that, brethren. That's what God wants to do for us.

Isaiah 51—here again the love of God is shown, the love of God is given. All through what we call the Old Testament, everything that God did was based upon His love. He just wanted them to respond to Him. We know that God didn't give them the heart to do it the way that we can, but can we respond to God? Yes! Can we love God in that way? Yes!

Isaiah 51:1: "Hearken to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD… [that's what we need to be doing] …Look to the rock from which you were cut, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him, and made him many.' For the LORD shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places…" (vs 1-3).
Look brethren, the Church of God is in trouble now, but the Church of God can be comforted by God IF they return, just like He says, He will comfort them.

"…and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness shall be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. 'Hearken to Me, My people; and give ear to Me, O My nation; for instruction shall proceed from Me, and I will make My justice as a light to the people. My righteousness is near; My salvation has gone out, and My arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon Me, and on My arm they shall trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall become old like a garment; and its inhabitants shall die in the same way. But My salvation shall be forever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law; do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their revelings; for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but My righteousness shall be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation.' Awake! Awake! Put on strength…" (vs 3-9). That's what He's telling His Church to do today—"Awake, awake, put on the strength."

Zephaniah 3:17: "The LORD your God is mighty in your midst; He will save; He will rejoice over you with joy…" There is one thing that is surely true: Since God loves us the way He does, and remember what Jesus did to bring us to the Father, what joy there is when there is that reciprocal of love going back to God and from God to us?

Just remember how lonely God has been because people don't love Him. Have you ever had it where you have desired someone to love you, but they haven't? All you want to hear them do is to say, 'I love you.' That's what God wants to hear from us. That's all God wants to hear from Israel. All of Israel, all the twelve tribes, all God wants to hear from them is, 'I love You! I will fear You! I will keep Your commandments!' That's something! That's the whole story of the Bible.

"…He will save; He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in His love; He rejoices over you with singing" (v 17). That's what God wants. He's going to do that.

I tell you, the love of God is really something, and I think there's so much to it that we need to live, that we need to experience, that we would have to say we really just don't know. It's going to be so profound, brethren, when that really happens. And that's what we're attempting to do here.

Hosea 11:1: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him and called My son out of Egypt." But what did they do? They turned their back on Him!

Hosea 14:4 is a wonderful verse, and I want you to understand this, and I want you to let this be applied to us as a church. Let it be applied to all the Churches of God. Let it be applied to all of Israel as God reaches down to save them.

Hosea 14:4: "I will heal their backsliding…" Yes, all the sins, all the things that were done God will heal, God will bring them back. All they have to do is repent and say, 'God, I love you.' That's all we need to do.

"…I will love them freely… [Freely, the gift of God coming from God. Marvelous indeed!] …for My anger has turned away from him." Right there in the Prophets—this is the love of God in The Prophets, pleading with His people. Yes, He had to correct them. Yes, He had to rebuke them. Yes, He had to bring them to nothing.

Let's see what God is going to do. This is wonderful, brethren, what God is going to do.

  • Can we not—in understanding The Love of God in The Prophets—learn of the things that are there for us in the New Testament?
  • Can we not go to God and say, 'God, I know that our forefathers were stiff-necked and rebellious?
    • We know that they turned their backs upon You.
    • We know that they loved Baalim and they went after Ashtaroth
    • We know that they loved to rely on themselves.
    • But Oh God, in our great need, in our very smallness that we are, please
      • love us
      • help us to love You with all our heart, mind, soul and being

Jeremiah 30:24: "The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return until He has done it…[Yes, there are things that are going to have to happen] …and until He has fulfilled the purposes of His heart. In the latter days you shall understand it."

  • Is it not time for us to consider it?
  • Is it not time for us to realize what God is doing to the Churches:
    • to correct
    • to change
    • to plead
    • to get them to love Him?

Jeremiah 31:1: "'At that time,' says the LORD, 'I will be the God of all the families of Israel… [Is that not true of the Church? Yes!] … and they shall be My people.' Thus says the LORD, 'The people who were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I will go to give him rest.'" (vs 1-2). Can we not find grace in this spiritual wilderness and stupidity that we are all going through? Yes, we can!

Verse 3: "The LORD has appeared to me from afar, saying, 'Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love…" How many times must God plead with His people? How many times must God plead with His Church that 'I have loved you with an everlasting love'? That's why John wrote, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever is believing on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' That's why Christ came. This is the everlasting love!

Just think of how much love that Christ had to have to come and suffer the things that He did, to go through this so that He could tell you, 'I love you.' And all He wants to know from you is: do you love Him?

God says if that's so "…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin of Israel.…" (vs 3-4). That is the Church, brethren, because He is building that right now.

So, the very love of God that we're able to participate in, in the New Testament; the very love of God in having that fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ in loving God with all our hearts and mind and soul and being can be fulfilled in us, brethren. Just remember this: what God wants to know is: Do you love Me?

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred. R. Coulter (except where noted)

Scripture References

  1. Deuteronomy 6:5-6
  2. Deuteronomy 5:7-10
  3. 1 John 5:2
  4. Deuteronomy 5:10
  5. 1 John 5:3
  6. Deuteronomy 7:6-9
  7. John 14:5
  8. Deuteronomy 7:9
  9. Proverbs 3:1-12
  10. Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19
  11. Psalm 103:1-4, 8-18
  12. Psalm 107:41-43
  13. Malachi 1:1-10, 12-14
  14. Malachi 2:1
  15. Ezekiel 3:17-21
  16. Ezekiel 16:8-15, 43-49
  17. Ezekiel 33:11, 30-33
  18. Amos 3:1-3
  19. Amos 4:11-13
  20. Amos 5:1-2, 10-15
  21. Micah 6:3-8
  22. Jeremiah 2:1-6, 8
  23. Jeremiah 4:1-2
  24. Jeremiah 5:1-2
  25. Isaiah 43:1-5
  26. Isaiah 55:6-11
  27. Isaiah 56:1-2, 6
  28. Isaiah 57:15
  29. Isaiah 63:7-8
  30. Psalm 63:1-5, 8
  31. Jeremiah 32:39-41
  32. Jeremiah 33:14-17
  33. Isaiah 51:1-9
  34. Zephaniah 3:17
  35. Hosea 11:1
  36. Hosea 14:4
  37. Jeremiah 30:24
  38. Jeremiah 31:1-4

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Hebrews 12
  • Exodus 20-24
  • Jeremiah 2:7
  • Matthew 13

FRC:cis
Transcribed: 12/28/2005
Formatted/Corrected—bo: June/2012

 

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