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Matthew 24:12 – And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
The gospel always overpowers the creeping chill. Read more…


Author & End – The Gospel Storyline Through the Entire Bible

An Everlasting Love – Jeremiah

Lesson 22 – God’s Pursuit and Intentions Do Not Change

Last week, we examined the destruction of the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel. We emphasized that God keeps all His promises. While this is true of His promises of mercy, joy, and love, it is also true of His promises of judgment.
God made covenants with Israel and mankind as a whole, and He will never break those covenants. However, there are consequences for sin and breaking a covenant toward God.
After almost 900 years of longsuffering patience, God carried out extensive judgment on Israel. The temple that represented God’s dwelling presence was destroyed, the palace that represented Israel’s independence as a nation was plundered, the city of Jerusalem that held promises of a future was cast down, and the people were driven out of the land that represented God’s promise to the descendants of Abraham.
Jeremiah ministered as a prophet during the final years of the kingdom of Judah. He pleaded with God’s people with an emotional declaration to return to Him, but they did not listen. He warned of the coming judgment but laced into these warnings is a message of hope. Jeremiah preached of a new promise and a new covenant in which God would uphold all sides of the covenant. He would still accomplish His work. Though it seemed everything was destroyed, God’s plan had not changed. We find this New Covenant anchored in God’s everlasting love.

The Background

  1. The book of Jeremiah is a transcript of the messages of Jeremiah from throughout his years as a prophet. It was compiled under his direction by his scribe named Baruch.
  2. Jeremiah ministered from 627-586 BC. During this time:
    1. Josiah reforms Israel’s worship.
    2. Josiah is killed in battle with Egypt. (Jeremiah writes a lament on his death.)
    3. Babylon destroys Assyria.
    4. Egypt makes Judah a vassal kingdom.
    5. Babylon defeats Egypt and makes Judah a vassal kingdom.
    6. Judah revolts against Babylon twice (against the recommendation of Jeremiah).
    7. Babylon destroys Jerusalem, its temple, and its palace and begins the Babylonian exile including their king and prominent citizens.
  3. The book contains prose and poetic writing in a biography of the fall of Judah.
  4. Jeremiah faced an extremely difficult cultural, political, and social environment during his ministry.
    1. Israel was an agricultural thoroughfare between the most powerful kingdoms in the world.
    2. Israel tried to make political alliances with multiple countries. Political alliances in that day were directly attached to spiritual alliances.
    3. Jeremiah spoke of injustice in Israel (land-grabbing, forced bond servitude, political gain). (35-36)
    4. Jeremiah spoke of Israelites who worshipped Egyptian and false gods. (19:13)
    5. Jeremiah’s message would have come across “anti-patriotic” to most Jews.
  5. Jeremiah’s theme covered God using Israel toward the nations and the nations toward Israel. (1:10)

 

Hope From the Weeping Prophet

Out of one of the darkest books of the Old Testament, we have the glorious promise of the New Covenant. The New Covenant showed that once again, God was committed to His plan to redeem mankind from sin, establish a relationship with him, and one day dwell with His people in peace.

The New Covenant revealed God’s intention for all of His other covenants. (31:31-34)

  • Make His people righteous and obedient planting His law “in their hearts.”
  • Establish a direct and personal relationship with His people.
  • Forgive and irradicate sin from their lives.

Everything in God’s other covenants served the purpose of establishing His New Covenant.

The simple question for this lesson is… “Why?” We know that God created us for His glory and name, but why establish His glory this way? Why restore and redeem people instead of recreating all things? Jeremiah 31:3 delivers the answer to us: the everlasting love of God.

  1. Jeremiah’s message was mainly judgment, warnings, and threats. It was a final message of mercy.
  2. Amid Jeremiah’s message of warning, he preaches of comfort to those to come.
  3. It is written to Israel scattered around the nations. It addresses the future people who would find themselves in disarray and discouragement.
  4. They would find the reason for their exile and, in essence, they would find the way back. He consistently pointed back and referenced the first exodus (31:32), and he promised another exodus. (it would be very different)
  5. The second exodus was disappointing to Israel (fewer people, lesser temple, lesser city, no king), and it prepared their hearts for a third exodus: a spiritual Exodus from sin. This was God’s purpose all along.
  6. Jeremiah makes it clear that all God’s interactions and leadings are based in His unique love. (31:3)
  7. His love is so different that it cannot be compared.

Unique Beginning – “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” – there was no point at which His love began. God never “began” loving, and He will never cease loving.

Unique Motivation – “I have loved thee with an everlasting love…” Because He initiated this love, you cannot find its start. God loves us because He is love! His love does not begin with attraction or appeal.

There is nothing in us that drew Him to us.

Unique End – “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” – There is no horizon for the love of God. No matter how messed up or broken man has become, God continues to say, “everlasting love.” Despite our ungratefulness, unfaithfulness, and unwillingness God never says, “The End.”

Unique Constant – “Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” – His love has not wavered, waned, or changed. He has continually pulled the hearts of man in goodness and mercy. Over and over His goal and purpose have remained the same.

Unique Commitment (30:22, 31:1, 33) – God reveals that He is committed to upholding not only His side of the covenant but the people’s as well. He will change people. He has said he will put love in the hearts of His people. This is different from anything we understand. It is a merciful love to enable the loved to become lover. No matter how weak my love feels, His strength guarantees both.

Unique Individuality – God’s love is individual and personal.

  1. His love draws so that it cannot be defeated.

-Unique Proof (31:3) – “…an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” God has proved His love toward us by how He continually draws us to Himself. The “drawing” of God tells us that there is some amount of resistance or difficulty. The display of His love was not easy. He has loved us no matter what the cost.

– He “draws” us painfully, lovingly, repeatedly, and consistently.

  1. His love is delightful so that it must be enjoyed by His children.

-In Jeremiah 31:4-9, God makes a promise to reverse all of the deuteronic curses that had fallen on them
as consequences for their sin.

-God does not hold His love over us with the intent to guilt, gain, or destroy. The intent of His love is the
delight of our souls in the satisfaction of His Person!

With the confirmation of verse 3 can we declare “YES! He has loved me with an everlasting love.” Our message to the world is “Yes, God loves you with an everlasting love.”

Describe how God has displayed His everlasting love toward you:

How is His love toward you different than all other loves?

How have you displayed and told of this love to a lost world?