God’s Everlasting Love
“Thus says the LORD, “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness – Israel, when it went to find its rest.” “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (Jer. 31:2-3).
God’s Love is Personal: “I have loved you”
God chose Israel by His sovereign love and by this love He continues to keep Israel today. Likewise, by this same love, He also chooses and keeps you. It seems so simple: God loves you. However, this is perhaps the most profound reality of the Bible. The God of the universe is not indifferent to who you are, but rather, He infinitely wills your good. He has a personal concern for you and for each person in this world. This is the entire significance of the Good News of the New Covenant and the only explanation for the sacrificial death of Messiah Yeshua.
God did not send out some messenger boy to tell us of His love; rather, He came in the flesh to sacrificially demonstrate it Himself (John 3:16, Rom. 5:6-8). He understands our suffering, not as a doctor, but as a fellow sufferer, for on this earth He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He endured these sorrows because He loves you.
To God, love is a personal matter. The Hebrew word for love is ahavah: a deep desire which reflects God’s heart. Since He demonstrated this love personally, we need to respond personally to Him by trusting in Yeshua and personally receiving His love. This is also why we share Him with others. We personally share the Good News with Jewish people because God’s love is a personal matter.
But does God still personally care about the welfare of the Jewish people? Paul, quoting Isaiah, writes regarding Israel that, “All the day long I (God) have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Rom. 10:21). How are His hands seen today? They are your hands and my hands. As our hearts are yielded to His heart, our hands reach out on His behalf to those He loves.
Yeshua wept over Jerusalem because of the lost spiritual state of so many of His people (Luke 19:41). Today, He continues to weep. But, if He weeps and we remain unconcerned, then it is not the Jewish people with whom we are out of touch. Rather, we are not walking closely with our God, for He personally loves and cares for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
God’s Love is Perpetual: “an everlasting love”
When God loves, it is forever. Experience shows us that everybody has a breaking point at which they give up. This however, is far from the nature of God. The word “everlasting” in Hebrew is olam (which also means “world”). Olam comes from the root word meaning “secret” or “hidden.” This gives us a clue as to the unique way in which God loves. Our everyday experience teaches us one thing, but the “eternal” is, by definition, hidden from our experience. In fact, most things of God are beyond our natural experience. This is how we can have a “peace that surpasses comprehension” (Phil. 4:7).
This kind of love is far beyond our understanding. I have two sons, neither of whom I would ever consider giving up. God, however, “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). His love for us is based on His character and His character never changes.
Our hearts yearn for and need eternal love. Eventually, all people are tempted to give up. Have others given up on you? Have you given up on others or even on yourself? God will never, ever even think about giving up on you! This faithful and perpetual love is seen today through you, as you continue to pray and reach out to the Jewish people and to all people (Rom. 10:1). God has two witnesses to His faithful love. We see this in Paul’s writings.
In Rom. 11:1-6, Paul proves that God has not forsaken His people through the witness of the Jewish believers who live out a present-tense Jewish testimony. Then, in Rom. 11:11-31, Paul explains how God’s faithfulness is demonstrated through the witness of Gentile believers who love Jewish people, acting on their calling to make Israel jealous for Messiah by ministering His mercy to them. Whether Jewish or Gentile, as God’s perpetual love in Messiah constrains your heart (2 Cor. 5:14), you too will reveal His faithful love for Israel.
God’s Love is Powerful: “therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
The fact that God loves personally and perpetually is wonderful, but His love also changes lives. This is because His love is powerful. God continues to draw us to Himself with His lovingkindness; chesed in Hebrew. Chesed is a word that speaks of a relational commitment to another, a covenantal love and kindness (1 Sam. 20:8, Psalm 89:28). This helps to explain why Yeshua initially sent His disciples only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 10:5), for they were the inheritors of the covenant God made with Abraham.
Yeshua’s reticence in ministering to non-Jews during His earthly ministry was because they were outside of this Abrahamic covenant (Matt. 15:26), and the only redemptive covenants God has ever made have only been made with Israel (Rom. 9:4).
Today, however, through Messiah’s atonement, non-Jews can accept God’s gracious invitation and enter into covenant with the God of Israel, receiving God’s chesed in Messiah (John 3:16, Eph. 2:12).
Thus, through a covenant relationship, God is faithfully drawing us to Himself, continuing His loving-kindness toward us and never letting us go. Why? Because His character is love. He, therefore, has the constant conduct of love (1 John 4:8). He loves you personally, perpetually and powerfully! Have you responded to His love?
Excerpted from Sam’s book – Messianic Foundations.