by Jon Walker
«I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.» (Jeremiah 2:2, NKJV)
The word ‘kindness’ in the Scripture above is a translation of the Hebrew word kesed, which is often translated as «loving mercy.» Starting in Genesis, it shows up throughout the Old Testament as a description of God’s loving pursuit of his people.
It’s a reminder that God chases after us with such persistent grace that he refuses to let us get away. That’s a concept I can easily understand about God – this benevolent grace that insists upon capturing us.
In a sense, we expect God to exhibit a kesed love for us. In fact, I’d go so far as to say we expect it from him. I mean, God has to love us – doesn’t he?
But something what surprised me in these prophetic words from Jeremiah. God says, «I remember the loving kindness of your youth.» Or to put it another way, «I remember the kesed you had for me in your youth.»
Now let that sink in for a moment.
God, though speaking of the past, is telling us we can have a kesed love for him. You can’t lose something you never had, and God is saying that the people of Israel once held this kesed love for God. That means we can have that kind of love for God too.
So let me ask you, when was the last time you felt such a depth of love for God? When was the last time you craved God?
A few years ago, there was a young couple in my small group – Blake and Jenny. They fell in love and got engaged. You could just see their love for each other oozing into the atmosphere. Just by looking at them, you could tell they were in love.
Now, why aren’t we the same way with God?
If you’re like me, you’re sitting here wondering, «How can I love God with an everlasting, overwhelming kesed love?» You may be thinking, «God, I don’t think I can love you that much! I don’t think it’s humanly possible!»
And if you’re thinking that, you’re right. It’s not humanly possible – but here’s the Good News. In the very next chapter of Jeremiah (3:22), God promises he will cure us of our backsliding. If you’ve lost your passion for God, then the way to get it back is not to work yourself into it; rather it’s to humbly ask God to give you that passion back.
It’s sort of like this, if you want to get rid of the sin in your life, don’t run after the law. Instead, turn and face God. He will change the desires within you. He will rekindle your kesed love for him.
Okay, so what does this mean for usí
· God cures – God will not only forgive your «prodigal» nature; he’ll cure you of your lethargic faith: «Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.» (Jeremiah 3:22a NIV) The people of Israel respond immediately, «Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.» (Jeremiah 3:22b NIV)
· God can and will – If asked, most likely you would say God can work through your life and rekindle this holy love within you. So if God can do it and is willing to do it, who has to take responsibility if this love is not rekindled?
· Do you believe God can do thisí Oswald Chambers once asked, «Do you not want to be a saint, or do you not believe God can make you one?»
· Pray – Our dear Heavenly Father, fan into flames the kesed love we once had for you. Create within us clean hearts and revive within us a steadfast spirit. Help us to fall deeply and passionately in love with you. We know you are trustworthy, and we know you will take our love and pour it back on us. We love you, no matter what the circumstances of our lives. You are our God. To echo T.W. Hunt, when you say, «I am,» we simply respond, «You are.»
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.