Think for a moment of the amazing similarities between our past and present and that of Israel in Jeremiah 31:1-3:
Like Israel, in our past we were captives to sin and headed for eternal death—and then we found “grace” in that “wilderness”. (Jer 31:2)

God has met us here presently in our journey through this life, because we are not yet “home”. In other words, we find presently that God has “appeared to us…from far away”—i.e. “away” from heaven and that He’s met us here in our exile away from His eternal presence. (Jer 31:3)

The  basis of God’s grace towards Israel, and toward us, is the same. Notice in 31:3 that before God tells Israel of their future, He gives them the basis of His past, present, and future grace towards them—-His “everlasting love.” And best of all, it’s not just a promise. It’s a rock solid fact. In the ESV it’s translated with a sense of that which was before and continues indefinitely (i.e. “I have (past tense) loved you with an everlasting love (it’s forever).” (Jer 31:3)        

If the above are the similarities between our past and present and that of Israel, what of our future? The best answer is drawn right from Jer 31:3 and comes from extended meditation on the love of God itself.

What is the strength and duration of the love of God? It is inexhaustible and it lasts forever! It reached far back into Israel’s past—all the way to Adam—and far, far into their then present  when “King David” the messiah, that is the the Lord Jesus, would come to die (Jer 30:9). And this eternal, everlasting, and inexhaustible love of God continued on in triumph when He initiated the ingathering of many gentiles, nations, tribes, and tongues—including us!— into His family through the death and resurrection of His Son (Rom 5:6-8). And the love of God toward us and Israel, before it roars unending into all eternity, will continue on until that great and future day when the new Jerusalem comes down “out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” when God exclaims from his throne “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…I am making everything new!…Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:2-5, NIV)

He is still the same God: a God of everlasting love who will never abandon Israel—nor we who have been grafted in to His family, having believed in Christ Jesus (Rom 11:17-24). His love toward us is everlasting. Our past was one of slavery to sin and of subjugation. Our present is a journey full of joy in the Lord who accompanies us all the way into His eternal presence—despite the suffering and earthly sorrows that befall us along the way. Our future is that coming day in which we, in the new Jerusalem, will see Him—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and be satisfied in Him forever.

by Craig Lester, Pastor of Worship and Music

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