Summary: This passage primarily refers to God’s ancient people, the Jews, the natural descendants of Abraham. He chose them, and separated them from the nations of the world.
THE DRAWINGS OF LOVE
“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved the with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” — Jeremiah 31:3. This passage primarily refers to God’s ancient people, the Jews, the natural descendants of Abraham. He chose them, and separated them from the nations of the world. Their selection fills a large chapter in history, and their history shines with the glorious luster of fulfilled prophecy. There was a period during which they experienced unexpected divine intervention and became the recipient of heavy punishment, and acquired a bad reputation for their disobedience and hardheartedness. Yet a future glory awaits them when they will turn back to the Lord their God and again be restored to their land, and acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the King of the Jews, their own anointed King. TODAY, every believer, both Jews and Gentiles, may hear the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering these words in their ear, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” There are two things I will speak briefly about this afternoon —the unspeakable benefit found within these words, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” and the unmistakable evidence contained in these words, “therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” What a great and precious blessing it is to be embraced with the everlasting love of God? Our God is a God of infinite generosity. He shows His goodwill and tender mercies through his works. He wishes well to all mankind and with great force and with loving feeling he declares it! He said, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). And whosoever will, may turn to Jesus, the Savior of sinners, to find in Him pardon for the past and grace for the future. This general truth, which we have always believed, and never saw any reason to doubt, is not at all inconsistent with the fact that God has a chosen people who were loved by Him, foreknown to Him, and ordained by him, before the foundation of the world, to inherit all spiritual blessings. The Bible calls us “an elect people,” since we are the special objects of His love. The covenant of grace was made on our behalf; the blood of Christ was shed at Calvary for us; and the Spirit of God works successfully for our salvation. He is speaking to us when He says, I have loved the with an everlasting love.
Now think for a little while about the enormous benefit we have because of His love for us. Let’s examine this verse word by word. It begins with “I have loved thee.” Who is the speaker? It is none other than the great “I am,” Jehovah the Lord. We live in him, move in him, and have our being in him. It is impossible for us, with our finite minds to comprehend what God is. Yet we understand this one thing, because His voice has reached our ears from heaven: “Yea, I have loved thee.” If you are a believer in Christ, you have heard it? The love of any creature, whether human or animal, is precious but nothing even comes close to the thrill of being loved with the love of God. Who is loved? The Lord says, “I have loved thee.” Drink that in if you can. Repeat the words to yourself with fitting emphasis, “Yea, I have loved thee.” Isn’t it a wonder that the Mighty God should love any of us— so insignificant, so short-lived, so soon to pass away? It is right for us to love God; but for the eternal God to love a finite man is a marvel of marvels! And yet if he loved all men everywhere, except me, I would not be as amazed as I would be when I grasped the truth that he has always loved me. Certainly there is nothing about me that merits God’s love. I can imagine Him saying to anyone of us, “I have despised thee!” Perhaps you were a drunkard at one time, yet he loved you; you cussed, yet he loved you; you had a furious temper, yet he loved you; and even now you have imperfections that make you loath yourself and feel ashamed. You may be weary of life, and tired of fighting, day by day, against the urge to sin. You may have evil thoughts and evil desires, so disgusting to yourself, and so dishonoring to your God. Still, He says, “Yea, I have loved thee.” Friends, if you believe in Jesus, even though you are poor, obscure, illiterate, sick, and you despise yourself, nevertheless he who cannot lie has stated, “I have loved thee.” These words have been spoken to Mary Magdalene; they have been spoken to one possessed with seven devils; they were whispered in the heart of the dying thief. Blessed be the name of the Lord, that you and I can hear the voice of His Spirit, as He bears witness with our spirit, “Yea, I have loved thee.” God loves those whom he has saved from their sins, and delivered from the wrath to come. Between that great heart in heaven and this poor throbbing, aching heart on earth love has been established — love of the dearest, truest, sweetest and most faithful kind. In fact, a mother’s love, the love of a spouse, and the love of a child are like water; but the love of God is like the best wine; these are just things of the earth, but the love of God is heavenly. Your heavenly Father has chastened you, because you forget Him so often, and offended Him constantly, yet He loves you. You know what it is to love. Reflect on the love you have for your closest friend or for your children, and look at it and say, “God loves me better than this.” Let’s observe that there is incomparable strength, as well as inexhaustible sweetness in this assurance, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” That word “everlasting” is the very core of the gospel. The love of God is “everlasting.” The word “everlasting” has three ideas within it. First, it has never had a beginning. God never began to love his people when Adam fell from grace, when man was made or when the mountains were fashioned. Before the blue heavens were stretched abroad, there were thoughts of love in His heart for us. He began to create, and He began to redeem mankind, but he never began to love. It is eternal love which glows in the bosom of God towards every one of his saved ones. God’s love didn’t materialize yesterday, nor will it perish tomorrow; but, like the eternal hills, it stands firm. You were loved by your God before he had shaped Adam’s clay, before He made the world, and before the stars began to shine. There was a time, when God dwelt in eternity all alone, but he loved you then with an everlasting love. The second idea is that he loves his people without ending. It would not be everlasting if it ever came to a halt. The love of God is not like that. It swells and flows on like the mighty Mississippi; it never pauses. Christian, your God always loves you the same. He cannot love you more; he will not love you less. And, since His love is everlasting, the third thought is, it never ends. You may grow grey soon, if you haven’t already; you might die soon, but the love of God will not expire. God’s love will never desert you. God never began to love you, nor will he ever cease to love you. You are His, and you will still be His when the world ceases to be. There is infinitely more comfort and satisfaction here than I can bring out. The love of God towards us is an everlasting love that is revealed personally in Jesus Christ.