TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate Edition

II. Loving Characteristics

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Chapter 2  Part II

Loving Characteristics

God’s love is one of the two primary characteristics from which his other personal characteristics emanate, the other primary one being his holiness. Comprehending and persistently being mindful of God’s love and his associated characteristics provides great encouragement for believers.

Love

God is love – as shown in him giving his only Son, to save us

The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent his unique Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.16We have come to know and rely on the love that God has for us. God is love, and the person who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.   1 John 4:8-10, 16  ISV

The phrase “God is love” (vv. 8, 16) implies that God’s nature is fundamentally love, rather than that love is simply a characteristic of God. It is also suggests that God is the sole source of love and so that love does not exist apart from him.

God’s love is great

[David, to God:] For your loyal love extends beyond the sky, and your faithfulness reaches the clouds.   Psalms 108:4  NET

God’s love is constant

How precious, O God, is your constant love!   Psalms 36:7a  GNT

God’s love lasts forever

[Ethan, to God:] I know that your love will last for all time, that your faithfulness is as permanent as the sky.   Psalms 89:2  GNT

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.   Psalms 136:1  ESV

Mercy

God is merciful

[Moses, to Israel:] The Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not abandon you, destroy you, or forget the promise to your ancestors that he swore he would keep.   Deuteronomy 4:31  GW

[David, to God:] Because of your great mercy, I come to your house, Lord …   Psalms 25:6a  CEV

God is also compassionate

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.   Psalms 103:13  NET

Due to his mercy and compassion, God is long-suffering

[Levites, praying to God and making reference to their ancestors:] Then, when they were at rest again, they went back to doing evil before you. Then you abandoned them to their enemies, and they gained dominion over them. When they again cried out to you, in your compassion you heard from heaven and rescued them time and again. 29And you solemnly admonished them in order to return them to your law, but they behaved presumptuously and did not obey your commandments. They sinned against your ordinances – those by which an individual, if he obeys them, will live. They boldly turned from you; they rebelled and did not obey. 30You prolonged your kindness with them for many years, and you solemnly admonished them by your Spirit through your prophets. Still they paid no attention, so you delivered them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31However, due to your abundant mercy you did not do away with them altogether; you did not abandon them. For you are a merciful and compassionate God.   Nehemiah 9:28-31  NET

Due to his mercy and compassion, God is forgiving

Who is a God like you? You forgive sin and overlook the rebellion of your faithful people. You will not be angry forever, because you would rather show mercy. 19You will again have compassion on us. You will overcome our wrongdoing. You will throw all our sins into the deep sea.   Micah 7:18-19  GW

Goodness

God is good

[A psalmist, to God:] You are good and you do good.   Psalms 119:68a  NET

God exercises kindness

How can I repay the Lord for all his acts of kindness to me?   Psalms 116:12  NET

God is generous

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to everyone generously without a rebuke, and it will be given to him.   James 1:5  ISV

Jealousy

The Hebrew and Greek words translated as “jealousy” convey a very forceful passion. When used of God, “jealousy” is spoken of in a positive light, as a virtuous attribute aligned with his profound commitment to and love for his people.

God’s jealousy in regard to his people is comparable to that of a husband or wife. Their jealousy is a product of their intense love for each other and evoked by anything that poses a threat to their relationship. As such God’s jealousy is expressed in action against whatever threatens his people or his relationship with them. Thus it is expressed both against hostile forces – bringing salvation to his people – and in punishing any unfaithfulness of his people, leading them back to him.

God is a jealous God

[Moses, to Israel:] For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; he is a jealous God.   Deuteronomy 4:24  NET

Here God’s jealousy is compared to fire devouring or destroying that which has aroused it.

God’s jealousy arises in response to his people’s sin

Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord. They made him more jealous by their sins than their ancestors had done.   1 Kings 14:22  NET

God is also jealous for his people’s well-being

Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. 4Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.   Zechariah 8:2-5  ESV

God’s jealousy for Zion (v. 2) – i.e. Jerusalem - has in view her restoration (vv. 3-5; cf. GNT) and expressing wrath towards her enemies (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT).

Pray for persecuted Christians