June 2019

“I have loved you with an everlasting love”

Jeremiah 31.3(NIV)

You might see the whole of the bible as a love story in which God identifies himself as the lover and his people as those who are loved and sought after. Here, in Jeremiah, we find an active God who is pursuing us in love. As the people of Israel are out looking for a place to rest, they meet God who is in fact out looking for them (verse 2). 

“I will be their God and they will be my people” (v 33): this is a covenant of everlasting love that is meant to be exclusive and as with many loving relationships there are promises and vows involved. Perhaps you may even consider your commitment to him as a vow in the form of “I (the believer) take you (Jahweh) to be my wedded spouse”? 

In this romance of our redemption there may be many times of unfaithfulness. How often do we choose not to love him but to give our heart to something else – to those idols that never seem to deliver what they promise? In the first two chapters of Jeremiah God gives testimony of his people’s poor behaviour. Yet he is always ready to renew his vows, he tenderly wins us back. What’s more, he restores us to perfect purity. So much so, that in verse 4 where he promises to start over with us and to build us up again, he actually describes his people Israel as a dear virgin. In this love story the ultimate bride price is paid at Calvary where Jesus, the bridegroom, expresses sacrificial love for his bride. What a joyful, exuberant wedding reception is described in Revelation.

Here in Jeremiah 31 we also find an emphasis on singing, praise and joy as God promises restoration to his people following their unfaithfulness and exile. The bride may be unfaithful in this love story, the bridegroom never is. God pursues us and proclaims that “I’ve never stopped loving you and I never will”. We are to expect love, love, and more love! 

As we allow his everlasting love room in our mind, heart and will perhaps we also can resume singing, grab tambourines, join the dance and even enjoy the fruit of our work as God undertakes his remarkable work of loving restoration and transformation.