Love Practices Equality
Psalms 36:5 – 8 Your steadfast love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
Songs have been written from these verses in Psalm 36. And rightly so. King David is contemplating God’s love. He describes it as immense – reaching to the heavens – priceless, and unfailing. When he thinks about how to illustrate God’s love from a human perspective, he declares this – both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
Here we have what I think is the purest and most practical description of God’s love – He treats everyone equally!
When Jesus walked on the earth we saw God’s love in action. We saw God choose shepherds to hear the first announcement of Jesus’ birth. We watched Jesus choose tax collectors, fisherman, and societal unknowns as His disciples and ministry trainees. We were amazed when we saw Jesus touch lepers and fellowship with prostitutes. We were overwhelmed with his love towards those who hated him and hung him on a cross when He asked God to forgive them for what they were doing. The social, cultural, political, or financial status of a person means nothing to Jesus – He loves them all equally! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
WOW! What hope that gives us. Jesus will love me no matter what I’ve done or who I’ve been. How liberating!
Several years ago after a worship service where I had preached from God’s word about the encouraging endorsement God places on our lives and the eternal embrace of His love, a man with a criminal record came to my wife and said to her, I finally feel free. I can let go of the past and it doesn’t have to have any power over me any more. I am finally out from under the burden of my sin. When she told me that news I was overwhelmed with joy. Someone had found refuge in the shadow of God’s wings. That’s what makes God’s love priceless. People, no matter who they are, can meet God as they are.
The challenge for us is this: how can we get out of our comfort zones we have created for our lives and let the love of God be lived out in relationships with others no matter who they are? We must begin to show love to others equally as God does. Our love is not priceless nor is it unfailing. God’s love in us is! We cannot truly love others with our love, but we can let God’s love for others flow out of us. We can reject the fleshly tendency towards discrimination. We no longer need to choose our friends based on personal benefit or personality preference. We can overflow with the love of God that accepts people as they are for who they are and introduce them to the Savior who will transform their lives into what He wants them to be. No longer will we choose our relationships based on what we want people to be for us, but we will choose to relate to people based on what God will do with their lives. We will look at people with the compassionate and caring eyes of Jesus. We will touch the “lepers” of our society and we will fellowship with the outcasts of our culture so that they may find refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.
But in our efforts to reach out to the low among men we must not ignore the high among men. Sometimes it is easier to reach out to the needy than it is to reach out to those who believe they have everything they need. We must not forget that the earthly castles and kingdoms being built by the successful people around us are not truly satisfying their souls either, and that they need the love of God too. They may appear content, satisfied, and fulfilled on the outside, but inside they are longing for the priceless and unfailing love that only God can provide. Jesus said it is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven because it is hard for them to give up their faith in their own accomplishments and treasures and put their faith in Him alone, but Jesus did not say it was impossible. We must reach out to the high as well as the low that are around us.
Someday, at God’s banquet table in heaven, we will feast on the abundance of God’s house. God will choose the seating arrangements. I will never know whether the person I am sitting next to was considered high or low among men, and they will not know that about me. All we will know is that in Christ we are equal and we are joint heirs of all things. Let’s make sure we start practicing that equality today.