“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.”
Jeremiah 31:3-4, NIV
In His dealings with Israel, the character and heart of God are constantly being revealed. Throughout the Old Testament we read of how there were consequences for the people when they turned their back on God and went their own way. Jeremiah was one of the prophets who had the unenviable task of challenging God’s people about their rebellion and calling them to repentance. But God’s ultimate intent was always to draw His people back to Himself for healing and restoration.
John tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and as such love is always, therefore, at the core of everything God is and everything God does, for that is His nature. And these words from Jeremiah which form our Scripture for today absolutely underline what John said about God’s nature, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” It seems terribly obvious to conclude that if God is everlasting and His very nature is love, that the love of God must also be eternal and everlasting.
Yet, this simple and very profound fact is one that many fail to understand and find hard to believe. Their experience of life has been such that, for them, love has been anything but kind. What passed for love was so often rejection and cruelty. They have experienced the pain of human expressions of love which at times have been anything but loving. People have said that they loved you, but in reality they have just wanted to use you. And sometimes you have felt like a piece of unwanted furniture cluttering the lives of other people. The end result can be that you start to believe that God must be like this as well and you cannot, therefore, trust Him.
It may also be that you have been on your own rebellious journey, running away from God and that God has allowed circumstances to prevail in such a way that, like the prodigal son in the story Jesus told, you have eventually come to your senses and returned to the Lord – you may now be asking. Can God still love me?
For all of us, these words from Jeremiah 31 come down the centuries of time and burst into our spiritual senses. They are some of the most comforting and encouraging words in the whole of Scripture, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” – this truly is the heart of God and it’s His heart for you, right now. Whatever has been your experience of life up to this moment. Stop, and dwell on this amazing truth – “God is love – and He loves me – and His love is everlasting.” Just drink in this truth and let it soak right through every cell of your brain and every emotion in your heart. Ask the God of all comfort to draw close to you so that you can experience first-hand the touch of love that comes from the hand of the Lord.
In the second part of Scripture for today, God says that He will build you up again – so that whatever the pain and problems there have been in the past, His desire is to restore you and rebuild your life. What an extraordinary blessing!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for this amazing truth – that there is no limit to Your love and that even if I have walked away from You in the past, Your love for me is unchanged by any of the circumstances of my life. I come running to You, Lord, rejoicing in the extraordinary truth that I am loved and that I can trust You both now, and for every minute of the rest of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.