“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God’.”
Jeremiah received this prophecy when the people of Israel were exiles in an alien land. As a nation, they had been unfaithful to the Lord who had made them His own, but through the prophet, God reminded His people of His unfailing love and faithfulness. He does the same today. You may not be exactly where the Lord intends for you to be right now, but He wants you to look up and see His goodness and His grace. He wants you to receive His everlasting love, and experience His blessing upon your life once more. There is hope in Jesus!
We serve an eternal God – He has no end and no beginning. It is the same with His love – it was always there, because God is love. He has loved us, not just from ancient times, but eternally. It is a love that can never fail, and never stop flowing our way, even when we sometimes cannot seem to feel it. It is a love that never ceases, even when we allow sin to come between us. Nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:38 & 39). He always knew us, always loved us, and was waiting for us to respond to His amazing love and love Him in return. From the first moment we experienced a revelation of the Father, He drew us towards Him, in love and kindness. Even the disappointments we may have experienced were really His kindness, because they were drawing us to a fuller revelation of His awesome reality. They have taught us that God is real; that He is faithful and trustworthy. They strengthened and increased our faith.
• In this Scripture, the people of Israel were broken and sad, weighed down with guilt and the shame of their iniquity, but God promised to build them up again. They were far from their temple, the daily sacrifices, and the festivals they celebrated, and they felt like their lives had come to a standstill, but He was promising to restore their joy, and the spirit of worship among them. They had sinned against the Almighty God and had strayed away from Him to worship the deities of their neighbors. They had muddied their slate, but God called them ‘Virgin Israel’. When He forgives, He forgets! He did not see the people in the light of their unfaithfulness, disobedience and sin. He saw them in the light of His own righteousness – as forgiven, cleansed and holy.
• The people of Israel had every reason to take their instruments and dance in the streets and shout from the rooftops! They were forgiven! They had every reason to be joyful as they sang songs of praise to Him. God was restoring them to their place of consecration in His presence. He promised to bring them back to where they belonged. He promised to make their lives fruitful and beautiful once more. They would once more be sought out by other people, who would come to them simply because of the presence of God upon their lives. People would call others to “go up to Zion”, to the mountain of the Lord.
• Some of you may be weighed down with a sense of guilt and condemnation. Perhaps the enemy stops you coming into God’s presence through worship because you feel you have let God down in some area of your life. Maybe you have been desiring to serve God and offer your life to bear fruit for Him, but feel distanced because you do not see yourself as righteous in His sight. Know that God sees you as ‘Virgin Israel’! The moment you ask for forgiveness, He has forgiven you and set you free from the spirit of condemnation. (“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” - Romans 8:1 & 2). See yourself as Daddy sees you, as the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). You are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are a child of God – you are no longer abandoned and far from the temple – you are the temple of the Holy Spirit! You have received the Spirit of sonship (Romans 8:15) by whom we can cry “Abba, Father”! His everlasting love is upon you – His everlasting love has always been drawing you. He sees you as “Virgin Israel”!
• As it was with the people of Israel, it could be that you too can say “The Lord appeared to us in the past” but you have not been hearing from Him, or seeing His hand of direction lately. You may be feeling like nothing significant is happening in your life. Remember the little seed that stirs to life and grows within the womb of the earth long before it appears through the soil. God is brooding over you and stirring a new life within your spirit. I believe that the sweet Spirit of God is calling you to “take up your tambourine” and enter His presence. He is calling you to seek Him, and not wait for Him to seek you out. Lift up your heart and your voice and worship Him. Let His sweet joy rise up in your heart once more. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Psalm 100:1)! Father God is reminding you of His eternal love because He is doing a new thing in your life! He is building you up. He is preparing you for a greater work and a higher calling. You will feel a renewal and restoration in your spirit, and hear His voice directing you. He has loved you and has had plans for you everlastingly!
• Finally, this word carries a promise of great fruitfulness. God told His people that they would harvest fruit in their own land once more. You will have the joy of sowing/ planting, and reaping a harvest – in every aspect of your life. In fact, the presence of the sweet Spirit of God will be so apparent upon you that people will seek you out so that you can help them connect with Jesus! Hallelujah! Those who used to be hostile towards you and your ministry, will bring others to you so that they can encounter the Presence. (The watchmen on the hills of Ephraim were once hostile to the house of God and used to set snares for those who were heading towards it – Hosea 9:8, but God promised that now He would use them to bring the harvest in). Let us receive this word for ourselves, our families, our churches, cities and nations.
Today, God reminds us that He has loved us everlastingly, and has awesome plans for our restoration and increase. He also wants us to get a fresh revelation about His infinite, eternal love for us. There is no way we can know the true extent of His love, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us a revelation of Daddy’s love. It will transform your life! His love is holy healing, which has the power to wipe away every sense of rejection, and every heart wound of the past. Daddy God thinks you’re wonderful and beautiful. He receives and accepts you completely, loves you for who you are, and wants you to receive all the goodness of His love – He has been in love with you forever!
I want to leave you with the five Fs about our God that we can remember from this message:
• Faithful Father Love,
• Forgives and Forgets
In His presence there is Fullness of Joy! May the God of infinite love and power who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead breathe life into you today and raise you up to be all that God has planned you to be. He has loved you with an everlasting love!