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Thursday, August 18, 2016

His Stubborn Love (Jeremiah 33:17-18)

 "For this is what the LORD says: 'David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burnt grain offerings and to present sacrifices.'"

God's stubborn love for His people continues in spite of Israel's chronic rebellion. Here they are facing their final deportation and the LORD promises only good toward Israel once their seventy years of exile are complete. In Jeremiah 32-33, God makes at least twenty-three "I will" statements of determined good toward His people. He promises to gather His people once again in the land of Israel and to give them "singleness" of heart and action so that they fear Him. He promises to bring them back from captivity and rebuild them as they were before. He promises to "restore their fortunes and have compassion on them."

God bases His stubborn love, which He shows toward Israel, on a promise that He made to King David many years before when He promised them an eternal king and priest. Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus fulfills that very promise as He lives to make intercession for humanity as the High Priest, "Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." And John in the Book of the Revelation describes Jesus as "the King of Kings and Lord of Lords" (19:16).

Somehow in the economy of God the foolishness and rebellion of humanity doesn't prohibit God from fulfilling His promises made in previous generations. God promises that He "will never stop doing good to them." Though Israel has provoked the LORD to anger through their idol worship and rebellion, God promises that "His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life" (Psalm 30:5).

I, for one, am grateful for His stubborn love. He will not let me go. He keeps working on me, pursuing me with an everlasting love. How quickly I give up on those whose hearts are bent away from God. No one has been more rebellious that God's covenanted people, yet nothing sways the heart of God from pursuing His people. Peter captures this aspect of God's character when he says, "The LORD is not slack concerning His promises, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance." Israel learned one thing well during their captivity. They learned not to worship idols. Captivity cured them of that once and for all.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Ezekiel 31:1-18
  • How is Egypt described?
  • Why does God destroy Egypt?
Jeremiah 32:1-33:26
  • What happens to the city of Jerusalem?
  • How does King Zedekiah respond to the escalating situation?
  • What does the Lord tell Jeremiah about his cousin?
  • What does Jeremiah understand about God? The land and the city of Jerusalem?
  • Why does God allow the Babylonians to set fire to and destroy the city?
  • What had God hoped discipline would produce in the hearts of the people?
  • What do the deeds sealed in a clay jar have to do with Israel's future?
  • What does God promise He will do when He brings those He has banished back into the land?
  • What kind of heart does the Lord promise He will give the people and why do they need this promise?
  • What specific promise does God say will be fulfilled when Jerusalem is again inhabited?
  • Upon what basis does God promise that He will keep His covenant?
Turning truth into prayer:
Thank the Lord that He rejoices in doing you good. Ask Him to give you and your family unified hearts toward the Lord.