The Lord Says
Preparing my sermon this past Sunday, which launched us into 2017, I felt the Lord impress a phrase upon me. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
Searching the Scriptures, I found the statement in Jeremiah 31:3, which reads:
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
The context for this declaration of the Lord is that the nation of Israel had been conquered, and their citizens taken captive to a foreign land. Their continued unfaithfulness to follow God and acknowledge him as their sovereign Lord led to their downfall. The Lord removed his hand of protection and the consequences were swift and dire. Now the Israelites were no longer living in the Promised Land, nor under the promises associated with that land.
Yet the Lord, through his prophet Jeremiah, reminds the Israelites and reminds us that his love transcends circumstances. Everlasting love is not defined or limited by our situation. Therefore, the Lord’s desire to draw us near to him never ceases. The original Hebrew is difficult to translate into our limited English words. The NIV uses the hyphenated phrase loving-kindness. A good description of the meaning is best found when God declares that he will “be our God, and we will be his people.”
God’s commitment to be “our God” is a covenantal loyal declaration rooted in his everlasting love. He will be our God because his love never fails. We could translate it by saying, God is always “for us.” Regardless of circumstances, situations, or even our perception that we have distanced ourselves from God, his declaration is that he is always “for us.”
I invite you individually, and I invite Wellspring as a ministry to receive the Lord’s declaration for us for 2017. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” What better way to enter a new year than with our Lord’s declaration that he is always for us! We venture into 2017, squarely placing our confidence in the everlasting love and loving-kindness of our Lord.
Blessings to all of you,
(You can listen to my sermon to hear more about this verse and the Lord’s loving-kindness.)