1 Corinthians 13 is a chapter commonly used at weddings – yet, given the context of the book of Corinthians, this is used in the context of a rebuke than a recital of the love between husband and wife. Consider the “love” described in chapter 13:
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Is this “love” not Christ? Is He not patient and kind, not boastful or envious, not arrogant or rude — indeed, “when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” – the greatest of these is love. The greatest of these, indeed, is Christ who is above all shadows and types which pointed towards Him.
So chapter 33 of the first book of Psalms similarly describes this steadfast love, for it is by the same “word of the LORD” that the heavens were made, and this same Word is upright – re-telling the gathering of the waters of the sea as a heap (Genesis 1:6-8). The psalmist makes an interesting comparison in this chapter – let all the earth fear the LORD, let all the inhabitants stand in awe of him (v.8). He is the LORD who created the heavens and the earth, who would foil the plans of man, bringing the counsel of the nations to nothing (v.10).
Here, however, is not the mighty deistic LORD, nor the LORD whom we must climb towards while we beg on our knees crawling on glass and pining for his attention. No – this is the LORD whose counsel stands forever, the plans of His heart imprinted on all generation. Can you imagine your plans being frustrated, but in fact replaced by the plans of His heart? Can you imagine a nation which follows their own agenda, a political regime which is godless and politically correct in its worship, compared with the blessed nation whose God is Yahweh (v.12)? Can a king be saved by his great army, a warrior by his strength, a horse as one’s false hope (v.15-17)?
Indeed – there is one hope. The hope which is built by suffering, which produces endurance, endurance which produces character, and character which produces hope (Romans 5). Our “fear” of Him is in fact the same as hoping in His steadfast love (v.18). God is love (1 John 4:16) – and it is His Love – His Christ, in Whom we fear and trust, Who will save us from ourselves. Will you let His steadfast love pour Himself upon us as we fear and trust Him? Or will we trust in our strength, in our armies, in our intellect, in our brand of humour, in our barriers, in our veils built on the lie that His love is not steadfast, that Christ is not patient or kind, and that He will not last?