"How Have You Loved Us?"

Kevin DeYoung

READ : Malachi 1:2-5

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask ‘How have you loved us?’” (v. 2, NIV)

The book of Malachi opens with an argument between God and his people. “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But the people don’t buy it. You can almost hear them murmur. “Have you forgotten what the Babylonians did to us? They leveled our homes, tore down the Temple, and carried us off as captives. So, excuse us, but exactly how have you loved us?!”

It’s an amazingly contemporary question. Parents ask it when they lose a child. Abuse victims ask it. Divorced spouses ask it. Sometimes all it takes is a bad day and we start asking, “Lord, how have you loved us?!”

The Lord’s reply is curious. “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated” (vv. 2-3). This is comparative language, an idiom to express preference. But it’s more than that. It is the language of election. Jacob and Esau were twins, but before they had done anything good or bad, God decided to set his affection on Jacob (i.e., the people of Israel) and make them his treasured possession (Romans 9:10-13).

This reminds us of our great privilege as God’s people. No matter how bleak our present, we know God will bless our future because he has chosen us in Christ in the past.


Lord, you love us and are for us. We trust you.