Some years ago signs were displayed in public places that read: "Smile — God Loves You." And indeed there are times when we do not smile with the assurance that God is smiling down upon us. The psalmist in Psalm 119:135 expresses it this way: "Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; and teach me Thy statutes." Now the shining of God's face is the displaying of His love. And plainly the psalmist was eager to have an assurance of God's love upon him.
But surely we err if we say that God loves everybody who reads that sign. If that were the case, would He not save everybody? If someone you love is attempting to commit suicide, would you let him do so, if you had it in your power to stop him? Can the sinner prevent the almighty God from saving him from going to the lake of fire? Can the sinner change the unchangeable God and stop His love?
No, His love makes them so that, as we read in verse 136, "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law." There you have the evidence that God's face shines on you. You know God loves you when He works such tears in your eyes. And did you notice that after the psalmist prayed for God's face to shine on him, he added: "And teach me Thy statutes"? The reason for this is that God loves those only who keep His statutes. He does not love them because they keep His law, even though He loves them when and while they keep it. No, He loved them eternally in Christ. In fact, we keep God's law because He loves us. His love makes rivers of water run down our eyes when we witness sin. Therefore, we pray that He will teach us His statutes. Having that knowledge we know that His face is in Christ shining down upon us. Those to whose eyes tears come because they see sin, including their own sins, can smile assured that God loves them.
Sing that truth then in this Psalter versification:
O make Thy face to shine on me
And teach me all Thy laws to keep;
Because Thy statutes are despised,
With overwhelming grief I weep.
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 120
Why not sing along??
… believers should learn to forget the wrongs that have been done them,—that they should not, when injured, break out into hatred or ill-will, or wish to commit an injury on their part,—but that, the more the obstinacy and rage of wicked men was excited and inflamed, they should be the more fully disposed to exercise patience. – Calvin’s Commentary (Luke 6:29-30)