Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I have loved you with an everlasting love

'the LORD appeared to him from far away. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."-  Jeremiah 31:3

“The Lord has appeared of old unto me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” I do not want you, at this moment, so much to hear me and to consider my statement, as to behold the appearance of the Lord and enjoy for yourself personally and at once, the gracious assurance of heavenly Grace. Here is a word from God of amazing love—Jehovah says, “I have loved you.” Think it over. Believe it. Stagger not at it. If the husband should say to his wife, “I have loved you,” she would believe him—it would seem only natural that he should do so. And when Jehovah says to you, a feeble woman, an unknown man, “I have loved you,” He means it. This is no fiction. God means by love what we mean by it—only His love is higher, deeper, fuller, holier than ours can ever be. 

Looking from His Throne, the insufferable light of which your eye could not endure, Jehovah speaks in accents of fervent affection and He says to you, “I have loved you.” Get hold of this Truth that God really loves you—that you are the object of the intense delight of the Host High—and what more would you have? God’s heart to you is Love! Be amazed. Be enraptured with this! Note, next, it is a declaration of unalloyed love. The Lord had been bruising wounding and crushing His people and yet He says, “I have loved you.” These cruel wounds were all in love. What? When He struck, did He love? “Yes, I have loved you.” What? When she was past human help and foul with sin? “Yes,” says He, “I have loved you.” “But, Lord, I have never been worthy of it.” “No,” He says, “but I have loved you all the same.” But, Lord, I have not been conscious of it. “I have loved you all the same.” But, Lord, I have run away from Your loving guidance. “I have loved you all the same.” God’s heart to His people is love, love, love, love, only love! Without beginning, without end, without measure, without change is the love of Jehovah to His elect. “I have loved you.” 

 Oh, when I sat at home and tried to eat this roll, as the Prophet did, it satiated my soul with fatness! I ardently wished that I might have voice and strength to tell out this blessed Truth to you. And then I thought—Well, what does it matter if I should be faint and feeble, if they will only think of the text believingly—and get it into their hearts by present enjoyment—it may even be better that the preacher should be nowhere and the Truth should be all in all. When we drink from the well we do not want the water to taste of the pitcher. If you have nothing from me I hope you will have the more from my Master. You will have no taste of me this morning, but only of this precious declaration of the Lord. 

“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” 

It is love, love only, love always, love perfect, love to the uttermost. This statement is a declaration of love in contrast with certain other things. Did you notice in the 14th verse of the 30th chapter, “All your lovers have forgotten you; they seek you not”? Let me sound those two notes in sharp contrast—“All your lovers have forgotten you,” but—“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” What a difference between the false friendship of the world and sin—and the changeless love of God! You, being earth-bound in heart, have been going after your idols and they have all deceived you. You have been trusting here and there and your trusts have all betrayed you! But the Lord Jehovah says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” 

You have provoked Him to jealousy by gods which were no gods, but He has never ceased His love. O Friends, how sadly have we erred by spiritual idolatry! How often have we hewed out broken cisterns which hold no water and yet our God loves us the same as always! What a miracle of Grace is this! As for our love to Him, how fickle! We have been hot today and cold tomorrow. Our love has been an April day—warm sunshine and cold showers—but the Lord has loved us with infinite constancy, even with an everlasting love! He has never changed. He could not love us more—He would not love us less. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  The contrast is very beautiful if we place over against it either the world’s love to us, or our own love to God. 

Jehovah, when He came to His people in Egypt, made Himself known as, “I Am that I Am”—the immutable God who abides forever the same. As such He has revealed Himself to us, for He is without variableness or shadow of turning. How sweetly does Immutability smile on us as we hear it say, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love”! Thus, dear Friends, our text is a word of love in the past—“I have loved you.” We were rebels and He loved us. We were dead in trespasses and in sins and He loved us. We rejected His Divine Grace and defied His warnings, but He loved us. We came to His feet all trembling and afraid—and He loved us and washed us and robed us. He loved us and therefore He saved us. 

 Since then we have been earthly, sinful, changeful, unbelieving, proud, foolish—but He has loved us without pause. We have been ill and racked with pain, but He has loved us. We have lost our dearest relatives by the Lord’s hand, but even in this He loved us. Everything has been in a whirl round about us, but He has loved us with fixed affection. Our life has been a strange labyrinth, but He has loved us and that love has been the clue of the maze. How sweet it is, Beloved, to roll up the years gone by and put them away with this label—“Days of the loving kindness of the Lord!” The matchless declaration of the text is a voice of love in the present. The Lord loves the Believer now. Whatever discomfort you are in, the Lord loves you. In this house, perhaps, your heart is failing you with fear, but the Lord still says to you, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” 

“Everlasting” includes today. Things present are provided for as well as things to come. External circumstances do not change the love of God nor will your internal condition do so. Has He not said, “I am God, I change not”? 
Everlasting love makes no leaps and jumps so as to leave out this day of trouble and that hour of temptation. Even at this dark hour your name is on the heart of your God. The text is a voice of love in the future. It means, “I will love you forever.” God has not loved us with a love which will die out after a certain length of time—His love is like Himself—“from everlasting to everlasting.” If you will read the chapter through to the end, you will see how God was about to deal with His chosen. He says, “I will build you, and you shall be built.” “He that scattered Israel will gather him.” “I will turn their mourning into joy.” “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” These are outpourings of a love which goes on forever— “Father, ‘twas Your love that knew us Earth’s foundations long before: 

That same love to Jesus drew us 
By its sweet constraining power, 
And will keep us 
Safely now, and evermore.” 

 It is a joy worth 10,000 worlds to have this assurance sealed in the heart by the Holy Spirit! “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” This is a declaration of love secured to us—secured in many ways. Did you observe in this chapter how the Lord secures His love to His people, first, by a Covenant? Read the first verse—“I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” See further on from verse 31 to thirty-four. The Covenant is summed up in these words, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” And if it is so, the Lord’s love must, indeed, be everlasting. God has pledged Himself to His saints by a Covenant of salt, “an Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” The tenor of the Covenant is, “I will, and they shall.” 

How my heart delights in this! God loves me with an everlasting love and He embodies that love in an Everlasting Covenant. Further, this love is secured by relationship. Will you dart your eye on to the 9th verse and read the last part of it? “I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” A man cannot get rid of fatherhood by any possible means. 

Yes, though my boy should transgress and dishonor his father’s name, yet I am still his father. There is no getting out of this relationship by any conceivable method and so, if, indeed, the Lord is unto you a Father, He will always give you a father’s love. In your adoption and regeneration the Lord has avowed Himself to be your Father and has virtually said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

C. H. Spurgeon

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