February 6

Deuteronomy 30:15-18

“If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.” vs. 16

People who live by grace are often puzzled by the conditional descriptions of God’s love that figure so prominently in our scriptures. There was no mystery about Israel’s relationship to the Lord! If they were obedient to the commandments, decrees, and ordinances of God they would be blessed. If they were disobedient they were told in no uncertain terms that they would be punished. Their decision was quite literally a matter of life or death. But, balancing that word from the law, Israel was also reminded regularly that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. Taken together these two great truths seem to indicate that God’s love is both conditional and unconditional. And indeed, that’s the way it always is with love, whether it comes from the Lord or from a fellow human being. Love is mysterious and powerful and its dimensions exceed the limits of our understanding. It can be easily lost and impossible to lose, all at the same time, and we regularly experience both sides of that great paradox. And the good news is that in our relationship with God it always has the last word!

Thought for the Day: In what ways is love conditional?

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