Perhaps surprising to some, Valentine’s Day gift spending comes in third behind Christmas and Mother’s Day here in the United States. A commentary on the value people place on love, seems the price of candy and roses. Valentine’s Day arrives in a few short days, heralded not so much by the calendar, but by the prolific bombardment of retail advertisements. All of this emphasis on saying “I Love You” through extravagant gifting, casts my mind upon an infinite love reaching to the heavens. Is there any more extravagant demonstration of love than that?
How exactly do you convey the strength, fullness and infinitude of your love to someone? The retail trade purports the more you spend, the greater your love. Do you ever feel sorry for the guy sitting on his sofa having purchased a modest Valentine’s gift for his wife, suddenly humiliated because “he didn’t go to Jared’s?” What exactly is the measure of love? Possibly Golde’s response to Tevye’s querie “Do You Love Me?” in Fiddler on the Roof provides the answer:
Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked your cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?
Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him
Fought with him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that’s not love, what is?
Inarguably a statement of commitment and loyalty, even sacrificial love of sorts. But an infinite love reaching to the heavens exceeds any expression of love conceived in the heart of man.
an infinite love in the face of evil
Like Golde, anyone married a significant number of years can attest to a love enduring the “betters and worsts” of life. Who better than your spouse to testify of seeing you at your best and worst? Somehow I think the most intoxicating aspect of love is when it is lavished upon you when you feel most undeserving. That is precisely how God demonstrated His love for us, as Romans 5:8 reminds us, we were yet sinners when Christ died for us.
Paradoxically, in the face of evil, God nevertheless demonstrates an infinite love reaching to the heavens. While judgment awaits those who ultimately have no fear of God in their hearts, He stands ready to lavish His perfect love even on them. Consider David’s description of the wicked in Psalm 36:1-4 (NIV):
I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.
David paints a clear picture of these people; they regard none but themselves and have no time for God. Such were we when God chose to offer His life a ransom for ours. In fact if we are honest, such are we at times even now.
But your love o lord reaches to the heavens
Knowing the absolute worst about us, we cannot begin to fathom, why God lavishes an infinite love reaching to the heavens upon us. The measure of His love is literally “immeasurable”. Look with me at David’s description of God’s love in Psalm 36:5-10 (NIV), despite the posture of the wicked:
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
How far are the heavens? Simply put, we don’t know. The Hubble Telescope is the most sophisticated instrument we have for searching the far reaches of space, but it’s finite range is a mere 15 billion light years. In Psalm 36, David describes God’s love as infinite and unfailing, a love full of grace, welcoming to all. Picture this love beckoning you to rest safely in His shelter, feast on the abundance of His house, find refreshment for your soul in His river of delights and fullness of life in His presence.
an infinite love reaching to the heavens
An infinite love reaching to the heavens is a pure, holy love lavished upon undeserving and at times willful sinners. It is our sin and brokenness that opens the floodgates of God’s heart in compassion for us. Our loveliness does not win His love, it is the very unloveliness of our being He desires for His own. As His peculiar treasure, He deposits His own loveliness in us.
God loves us with an everlasting love; a love that encompasses past, present and future. His love is not “from here to eternity”, lasting from a specified time, forever. God is eternal, He has no beginning and no end. Such is His love for us, never a time existed when He did not love us.
While the world seeks affirmation of love in gifts of candy, roses and jewelry, remember One whose love is immeasurable, unfailing and priceless. Who, in the face of our own sinfulness, refuses to abandon us, but made a way for us to be with Him forever. No storm’s fury, trial’s tempest nor darkest valley separates us from God’s love.
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