Does God Really Love Me?


Malachi 1:1-5

Do you ever doubt God loves you? Many people are in distress—they’re battling a dread disease, they’re having marital problems or dealing with a rebellious child, they’ve lost a job and feel like they’re about to lose everything. They’re asking, “What do I do now? God, if You loved me, You wouldn’t let this happen. I’m not sure You do, or I wouldn’t be in this mess.”

You may have asked God for something—something you thought in the long run would honor God and benefit you. “It would be great,” you thought. But God didn’t bring it to pass.

If you’re experiencing persecution or hardship, you may be doubting Calvary’s love. You’re not alone; more than 2,000 years ago, the Israelites believed the same thing, doubted God’s love.

1. Turn to the last book in the Old Testament, to Malachi, chapter 1 in the book of and listen to this conversation between God and the Israelites:

1 The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
2 I have loved you, saith the Lord.
Yet ye say, “Wherein hast thou loved us?”
[And then God answers]
“Was not Esau Jacob's brother?” saith the Lord. “Yet I _________ Jacob,
3 And I _______ Esau, [ß hold on—we’re going to get to this…] and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
4 Whereas Edom [another term for Esau and his descendants] saith, “We are impoverished
[God now counters]
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, “They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them ‘he border of wickedness,’ and ‘the people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever.”
5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, “The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.”


Whenever you read a passage where the meaning seems obscure or you don’t understand what it’s saying, the wisest thing to do is to ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and then use one of many great tools we have today to help our understanding. One of these is at You can put the passage (Malachi 1, for example) in the search line, then choose from a long list of translations and versions that take it out of 1600s Elizabethan English and into what it is actually saying in today’s English. One version Dr. Rogers frequently used and quoted from is the Amplified Version.

Here is how those first 5 verses of Malachi 1 read in the Amplified—and they will help unpack this for you:

1 The oracle (burdensome message) of the Word of the Lord to Israel through [My messenger] Malachi.
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How and in what way have You loved us?”
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I loved Jacob (Israel); 3 but [in comparison with My love for Jacob] I have hated Esau (Edom), and I have made his mountains a wasteland, and have given his inheritance to the jackals of the wilderness.”
4 Though [impoverished] Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins.”
Thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the Wicked Territory, the people against whom the Lord is indignant forever.”
5 Your own eyes will see this and you will say, “The Lord is great and shall be magnified beyond the border of Israel!”

This helps greatly to clarify.

Within these 5 verses, there is a great deal of complexity, and in it we learn important things about God’s love for us. We can answer our question, “Does God really love me?”

For context, Malachi lived at the close of an age. When Malachi finished this prophetic book, the Holy Spirit fell silent for 400 years until the birth of the Israel’s Messiah, our Savior—and the New Testament picks up God’s eternal story.

These Israelites in Malachi’s day were indifferent, insensitive, and sometimes insolent in their relationship to God. They were very much like the people who live in the end of our age today. What God said to Malachi, God is saying to us today. Let’s go back and examine these opening verses of Malachi more closely.

1. Malachi begins by God saying, “I have _________ ______….” but His people snap back with a smart-aleck question. “Oh, You’ve loved us? Where have You loved us?” The implication is, “God, if You really love us, why are we having so much trouble? If You really love us, why all this difficulty?”

You know, a large group of people in the United States known as the baby boomers, born between 1946-1964, number about 76 million, and 64 million are still alive today. These baby boomers in their lifetime have seen their nation for the first time fight in a war she didn’t win (the Vietnam War). Most were of draft age when that war began.

They’ve seen their friends go off, many of them die; others who’ve come back wounded, suffering from PTSD.
They’ve seen drugs ravage their high schools.
They’ve seen the great institutions of America mocked.
They’ve seen a President (Nixon) resign in disgrace and another (Clinton) disgraced by scandal and impeachment.
They’ve seen assassinations and attempted assassinations of great leaders of our country.
They’ve seen marriage and the home disintegrate.
They’ve seen prayer in their schools declared “unconstitutional.”
They’ve seen abortion legalized.
They’ve seen many institutions crumble.
Many of them are disillusioned at anything called the establishment.

And yet they don’t really know where to turn. Very similar were the people in Malachi’s day.

The first of their insolent, sarcastic questions is: “How have You loved us?

With a sneer they say, “Oh yeah? Well, if this is love, no thanks.”

Now you would think for a silly question they would get a sarcastic answer, but God doesn’t respond like that. He’s not like us. God answers sincerely, giving them 4 statements about His mighty love.

We’re going to look at those 4 wonderful truths in this study.

If you’re immature, you may doubt God’s love, especially if you’re not getting your way and you’re having problems. Here is how God loved His people then and how He loves you now:

He Loved Them with a Sovereign Love.

2. Look again in verse 2:

“…Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Saith the LORD: yet I _________ __________, and I _________ _______,” who were brothers.

As a matter of fact, they were twins.

When God says, “I loved one of them and the other I hated,” right away that’s going to cause you a lot of questions. Problems will arise in your mind, hearing God say, “I loved this one and I hated that one.”

“Wait,” you say. “I thought God loved everybody.”

He does. Here we encounter an important aspect of God’s sovereignty and foreknowledge.



I want us to pause, and I’m going to slow down here because you need to get this. You see, some people will read this, then read the apostle Paul’s commentary on it in the book of Romans, and they’ll conclude this means that before these babies were born, God had determined that one baby would go to heaven and another baby would go to hell. Some theologians call that “unconditional election”—that God just simply elects and predestines some to go to heaven and some to go to hell.

Have you ever heard that? It’s an idea circulating in the Christian community today.

No thought is more debilitating to evangelism, soul-winning, and missions than that foolishness: the idea that some are predestined to hell, and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. Don’t believe it for one skinny minute.

Let me tell you something, friend: God wants all people to be saved, and He never, ever predetermined that anybody would go to hell.

I’m going to give you some material to show you what God did not mean before I tell you what God did mean. God did not mean that anybody is predestined for hell and there’s nothing that he or she can do about it.

3. Turn with me in the New Testament to 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and let me show you something here. I want you to mark it in your Bible because it’s very important that you know this.

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
4 Who will have ______ men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Underscore the phrase “all men.” It doesn’t say some. God wants all to be saved and “…to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Continuing…

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
[now watch verse 6] 6 who gave Himself a ransom for ____” (Underscore that word in your Bible.)

The Bible says in these two passages (1) Christ died for everybody, and (2) God wants all people to be saved.

4. Now turn to 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord…is not willing that _____ should perish, but that ______should come to repentance.”

In your own words, state what the Bible says God—

(1) is not willing to have happen

(2) wants to have happen.

Someone argues, “Oh yes, but they can’t come unless God draws them.” That is true. No one can come unless he’s drawn by the Holy Spirit, but listen to what the Word of God says in John 12:32.

5. Turn to John 12:32.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will __________ ______men unto me.”

Who is doing the drawing? ______________ And (how many) _______ will be drawn?

6. Turn to John 1:9. This first chapter of John is perhaps the most profound passage of Scripture describing who Jesus is, His mission on earth, and His eternal place as the Second Person of the Trinity.

Read down to verse 9. Jesus’ coming brought light to _____________ (how many) people on earth? Here the Bible states that the Holy Spirit of God has already drawn all to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Two opposing views cannot both be right at the same time. The Bible has stated one thing, but some within the Christian community teach “unconditional election”—that is, you are unconditionally elected to salvation and, therefore, you are saved and going to heaven, no matter what, while conversely, others are unconditionally not elected and going to hell, no matter what. Friend, that’s the kind of an election they have in dictatorships, where the outcome of an election is already determined before the voters go to the polls! It’s already settled before voting!

I don’t believe in that kind of election. I believe God is a God of love who gives everyone an opportunity to be saved.

7. Turn to John 5:40. Jesus Christ looked at those who refused Him, and with a broken heart said:

And ye ______ ______ come to Me, that ye might have life.”
He does not say that they could not come, but they would not come. They willed not to come.

8. Some people talk about “irresistible grace”—that when the Holy Spirit calls, you can’t resist the Holy Spirit.

Turn to Acts chapter 7, verse 51.

We walk right into a dramatic moment: Stephen, who became the first martyr of the Church because of his faith in Jesus Christ, is being grilled by the High Priest, and in verse 2, he begins answering the Sanhedrin and other religious leaders. For an incredible blessing, start back at verse 1 in this chapter and listen to what Stephen says. He hopes his words will be persuasive, but he also knows that he might be executed at any moment. The Holy Spirit, who inspired all of Scripture, made certain his words were included in the Bible. Toward the close of his appeal to these religious leaders, he concludes:

51 “…You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always ________ the Holy Ghost. ___ _____ __________ ____, so do you.

52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers:

53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

54 When they heard these things, they were ____ to the _______, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

What a picture of resisting the Gospel of grace! If this isn’t resisting the drawing of the Holy Spirit, I don’t know what is. Here the Bible confirms that there are those who can say “no” to the Holy Spirit. Christ calls all, but not all are saved.

9. Turn now to Matthew 23:37. The Lord Jesus Christ is on the Mount of Olives. In a very few days, He will be crucified. He looks down at the city of Jerusalem that had rejected Him and with a broken heart, weeping, says,

Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft would I have _________________ you, even as a hen doth her chicks, but ____ _________ not.

Note the loving heart of our Father God that Jesus expresses here. Notice that He says, “I would, but you wouldn’t.” It’s not that the Lord didn’t desire for them to be saved. It’s not that they could not have been saved. It’s that they refused. Look again at the passage we read in question #7 above, John 5:40: “And ye will not come unto Me that you might have life.” That’s willful rejection of the offer of salvation.

The idea that some are predestined for heaven and some eternally predestined for hell is not in the Bible, in my estimation.

10. Now let’s go to 2 Timothy 2:8-9.

Before we read it, list below three issues or hardships you are facing right now:

The apostle Paul, the greatest soul-winner who ever lived, is writing to his young protégé, Timothy.

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel. Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound.

What is Paul saying here? The Amplified amplifies it:

Remember Jesus Christ [the ever-living Lord who has] risen from the dead, [as the prophesied King] descended from David [king of Israel], according to my gospel [the good news that I preach], for that [gospel] I am suffering even to [the point of] wearing chains like a criminal; but the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!

Paul knew trouble. Every day he faced hardship and persecution because he was preaching the Gospel, sharing Jesus.

Let me say this to you, dear friend suffering hardship and surmising God therefore doesn’t love you: Jesus Christ did not come to get us out of trouble. He came to get into trouble with us!

All kinds of slander was spoken about the Apostle Paul. He was treated like a criminal But he says, “I am in jail, in chains, but the Word of God is not bound.”

11. But now notice verse 10:

Therefore I endure all things for the _________’s ________, that they may also obtain the ________________ which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Paul, why do you suffer? Paul, why were you beaten? Paul, why did you fast? Why did you pray? Why did you travel? Why were you stoned? Why were you pickled in the Mediterranean? Why did you languish in prison? He answers, “…for the elect’s sakes, that they might be saved.”

Think about it: If everyone is either just going to be saved or not saved by “unconditional election” anyway, Paul, why don’t you just go fishing? Why don’t you just take it easy? Who wants to run in a race when the outcome is already settled, when the winners are already posted and the names are already engraved on the trophies? Who wants to get in that kind of a race? If they’re elect and going to be saved, Paul, why do you do all of this? Don’t worry about missions, evangelism, or soul-winning.

12. Find now Ezekiel 33:7-9.

7 “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and shall _____ them from Me.”

God says that those of us who are His children are like watchmen set on the wall to warn others when the enemy comes.

8 “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou doest not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at ________ hand.”

Does this sound like everything’s already settled? Nothing can be done? They are unconditionally not “elected”? Notice the next verse:

9 “Nevertheless, ___ thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

According to this passage, some people may die and go to hell if we don’t tell them. That’s the reason the apostle Paul could lift up his hands and say, “I am free from the blood of all men. I’ve not shunned to declare unto you the whole gospel of God.

Dear friend, it’s a libel on the character of God to say He takes a little baby before that baby could know the light of day and say, “You’re going to hell and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

I don’t believe in that kind of God.

Now, there is an elect. But they are elect according to the foreknowledge of God.

13. In your Bible, go back to Malachi 1:1-5 where we began and write there beside the passage this reference: “1 Peter 1:2”. Here God describes who “the elect” are:

…Elect [chosen] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be yours in increasing abundance [as you walk closely with God]. (Amplified)

How are they “the elect”? According to the _________________ of _____ the Father.

Friend, listen. Election is based upon foreknowledge, not upon predetermination. God knows the future. And when God sees those in the future who will trust Him, they become His elect.

14. See Romans 8:29

29 For whom He did __________________, He also did ___________________, to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

God’s election is based not upon whim, not upon arbitrary choosing, but on foreknowledge.

You see, God dwells in eternity, and we’re down here in time. In eternity, God can see the past, present, and future all at once. God knows it all. There in eternity, God sees a young man. Oh, he doesn’t look like much to me. He’s mean. He gets in street fights. He skips school. But God sees that little boy. God sees him bowing his head. God sees him opening his heart. God sees him trusting Jesus. God sees it before it happens, and God says, “He’s one of My elect. He’s one of My elect.” “Whom He did foreknow, them He did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” God’s foreknowledge is the basis of His election.

You’ve heard about Halley’s comet. Halley was an astronomer, able to predict with great accuracy when a certain comet would appear on the scene. He predicted it because he had foreknowledge. And at the precise moment, the comet appears. Question: Did Halley cause the comet to appear? No. He simply foreknew that it would. But his foreknowledge doesn’t cause it to appear. It appears because it is fixed that it will appear. Now, friend, God did not just simply choose Jacob to go to Heaven, and God did not choose Esau to go to hell. But God saw that Jacob would have a heart for Him and Esau wouldn’t. Jacob would have spiritual sensitivity and Esau wouldn’t. Each man had a right to choose Him.

15. Look at Revelation 22:17. Look at the open invitation to all.

And the Spirit and the bride say, “_________.” And let him that heareth say, “_______.” And let him that is athirst _______. And _______________ _____,, _____ him take the water of life ________.

a. What do the words “let” and “freely” imply?

Some say, “But God has reached down and selected those to choose Him.” You listen to me: The elect are the “whosoever wills,” and the non-elect are the “whosoever wonts.” If you want to be saved, you can be. God reaches out “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), “and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).


When in Malachi 1:3 the Bible says, “Esau I hated …” this is not hate in the term that you and I use the term hate. It’s not an emotional hate. It is not personal animosity. God doesn’t have any of those childish, wicked feelings in His heart. All that means is that He preferred one above another because one chose Him and the other didn’t.
The word “hate,” much like the word “love” is often used in the Bible differently from how we use it today.

16. Turn please to Luke 14:26. The Lord Jesus is talking about being His disciple, and He says,

If any man come to me, and ________ not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”

Wait. Jesus said that? I love my father and mother. I love my wife, and I love my children and my brothers and sisters. Does that mean I can’t be a disciple? Not at all, if you understand how God is using this word here. He simply means preference—that we are to give preference to God. My wife Joyce knows that she’s not number one in my life. She knows Jesus is number one in my life, and she is number two. She wants it that way because she knows I will love her a whole lot more making Jesus Christ number one than I would if I made Joyce number one. By putting the Lord Jesus Christ first, I can now love Joyce with the love of the Lord. I can love her as Christ loved the church. All Jesus is saying is, “You must prefer Me above all others.” He’s certainly not teaching us to hate our father, mother, spouse, and children. This is the same sense in which the word is used here in the book of Malachi.

God did not love the man Jacob in the book of Genesis for what he was, but He loved Jacob for what He knew He could make out of him, because Jacob would chose Him and Esau would not. And God set upon him therefore His sovereign love. Thank God for that love. Oh, my dear friend, He didn’t have to love us.

17. Turn to 1 john 4:19

We love Him because He ________ _________ us.

And how many did He love? John 3:16—

For God so loved the _____________ that He _______ His only begotten Son, that (noteà) __________________believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

He just chose to love us. Hallelujah for that. Friend, Jacob wasn’t much to love if you look at him, but God took this man Jacob and made a prince out of him.
Learn this: God does not change you so He can love you; He loves you so He can change you.

You see, it’s the very fact that He loves us, no matter what. Just as we chose Him, His love begins to work in us. You may be in deep trouble today. Jacob was in a lot of trouble. If you read the life of Jacob, you’re going to find out not only did he get in trouble, but God engineered his trouble. But it did not mean that God did not love him.

Sometimes we don’t understand God’s love. Sometimes it seems like what God is doing is so cruel and so callous. That’s the way these people in Malachi’s day were so long ago. They doubted God’s love. But I want to tell you, it is a sovereign love. And if you’re in difficulty, don’t look at circumstances to try to prove God’s love. You look at God’s character to prove His love. He loves you with a sovereign love.

God Loves You with a Strong Love.

Malachi 1:3 again…

And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

God brought judgment upon wicked people as proof of His love. Hate is a proof of love. You cannot love without hating. You cannot have a quality without having its opposite. For example, you can’t have hot without cold. There can be no high without low. There can be no big without small. There can be no love without hate. If a judge loves justice, he’ll hate crime. If a doctor loves his patients, he’ll hate disease. If people love God, they will hate sin. You cannot love without hating; if you don’t have any hate, you don’t have any love. If you don’t hate sin, you have only a sentimental love. It’s not love for God at all. It is not like God’s love. God said, “I love Jacob. And, therefore, I hate those that would harm him.” Again, it is not an emotional hatred. It is a choice against all that is wrong.

A lot of hypocritical love is going on today that’s not love at all.

18. Turn to Romans 12:9.

9 Let love be without dissimulation [without hypocrisy, camouflage, fraud or pretense. Let it be real] Then he tells you what real love is. “…________ that which is evil and cleave to that which is good.”

“Abhor” is an excellent synonym for “hate.” That’s the kind of love God has. God’s love is a sovereign love. God’s love is a strong love. He says,I love Jacob. Therefore, I hated Esau because of what they [Edom—Esau’s people, his descendants] did to the people of God.”

If you love the sheep, you’re going to hate the killer wolves. Don’t tell me you love God if you don’t hate drug traffic, if you don’t hate pornography, if you don’t hate the unbelief and doubting His Word that’s permeating some churches. Don’t tell me you love babies if you don’t hate abortion. You’re just a hypocrite. That’s all you are.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

19. Turn to Proverbs 6:16-19. This is such an important passage! Here God reveals in one paragraph 7 things He hates.

16 These six things doth the Lord _______: yea, seven are an ______________ unto Him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

The love of God is a strong love.

God Loves You with a Steadfast Love.

His love is not fickle. It doesn’t change. Malachi 1:4 again:

4 Though [impoverished] Edom [the enemies of God] says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins.”
Thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the Wicked Territory, the people against whom the Lord is indignant forever.”

Edom, representing the power of Satan, says, “We’re going to make a comeback.” But God says, “If you do, I’m going to knock you down.” You see, there is a perpetual warfare against sin. We already know how it’s going to end. Sin can’t win and faith can’t fail. Satan sails a sinking ship; he rules a doomed domain.

20. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:24-25, a wonderful passage of Scripture:

24 Then cometh the end, when He [Jesus] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have ____ ______ all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies ________ His ______. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

If you’re going through trouble and think God has forsaken you, He has not. See the “shall haves” in verse 24—God is not finished yet! The devil keeps trying to make a comeback, but he’s not going to do it.

There was an unknown poet who watched the waves out on the reef breaking and recoiling. But he noticed that even while the waves seem to fail, the tide just kept coming in. He wrote these words. They say what God is saying in this verse.

On the far reef the breakers
Recoil in shattered foam.
Yet still the sea behind them
Urges its forces home.
Its chant of triumph surges
Through all the thunderous din—
The wave may break in failure,
But the tide is sure to win.
O mighty sea, thy message
In changing spray is cast.
Within God’s plans of progress
It matters not at last
How wide the shores of evil,
How strong the reefs of sin.
The wave may be defeated,,
But the tide is sure to win.

Edom says, “We’ll rebuild. We’ll do this. We’ll do that.” God says, “Oh no you won’t.” If you doubt God’s love because you’re in trouble, just wait a while, friend. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.

God Loves You with a Seeking Love.
Malachi 1:5

5 “And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from [beyond] the border of Israel.”

Most translations rightly translate this as beyond (not just inside) the borders of Israel. God is saying this love is not just for the Jew, not just for Jacob. This love is for all people.

21. Continue in Malachi 1 to verse 11:

11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the _______________

Hey, folks, that’s us! “Beyond the border of Israel”. Hallelujah. This is for people who live in our day just as much as when it was written. “From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof…” there’s no place where God’s love does not seek. People of all colors, all conditions, all circumstances, all classes, all characters—God loves you! Remember it: God loves you.


I love Ephesians 3:18-19, where Paul is praying for the saints. He says, “That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of God which passeth understanding.”

In the Inquisition, they found in a prison where a man had carved in the stone a cross. And at the left hand of that cross, near the bruised and bleeding heart of God, he had written “breadth.” Over at the right hand, the hand of omnipotence, He that rules the world, he had written, “length.” Down where those bloody, nail-pieced feet that walked the burning corridors of hell for us had been, he had written, “depth.” And above that, at thorn-crowned head, he had written, “height.”

That, my dear friend, is the dimension of God’s love. There’s no one He doesn’t love. East and west, north and south. A man may go to hell unsaved, but he’ll not go to hell unloved. Oh, the grace that drew salvation’s plan. Oh, the love that brought it down to man. Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary. Never let circumstances or Satan cause you to doubt the love of God. For you.