The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from afar. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have drawn you (Jer. 31:2-3).”
God’s Love Is Personal
God chose Israel by His sovereign love, and by this love He keeps Israel. Likewise, He chooses you and keeps you by that same love as well. It seems so simple: God loves you. But this is perhaps the most profound reality of the Bible. The God of the universe is not indifferent to who you are, but rather He infinitely wills your good. He has a personal concern for you and each person in this world. This is the whole significance of the Good News of the New Covenant and the only explanation for the sacrificial death of Messiah Yeshua. God didn’t just send some messenger boy to tell us of His love, but rather, He Himself came in the flesh to demonstrate this love to us all (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8).
To God, love is a personal matter. The Hebrew word for “loved” is ahav– a deep desire which reflects God’s heart. Even as He demonstrated that love personally, only personally can we respond to Him by trusting in Yeshua and receiving Him. This is also how He is shared with others. We personally share the Good News with Jewish people because His love is a personal matter.
Does God still personally care about the welfare of the Jewish people? Paul, quoting Isaiah, writes regarding Israel that God’s hands are outstretched all day long to a rebellious and disobedient people (Romans 10:21). He continues to reach out and can’t “take the hint.” Where are His hands today? They are your hands and my hands. As our hearts are yielded to His heart, our hands reach out on His behalf.
Yeshua wept over Jerusalem because of the lost spiritual state of so many of His people (Luke 19:41). He is still weeping. But if He weeps and we are unconcerned, then it’s not the Jewish people with whom we are out of touch. Rather, we are not walking closely with our God, for He personally loves and cares for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
God’s Love Is Perpetual
When God loves, it is forever. For experience shows us that everybody has a breaking point and gives up. The word “everlasting” in Hebrew is olam (which also means “world”). Olam comes from the root for secret or hidden. This word gives us a clue as to the unique way that God loves. What we know in our everyday experience is one thing, but the “eternal” by definition is hidden from our experience. In fact, most things of God are beyond our natural experience.
That is why we have “a peace that surpasses comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). This love of God is beyond our understanding. I have two sons, and would never give up one of them. But, “God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son” (John. 3:16). His love for us is based on His character, and His character never changes.
Our hearts yearn for and need an eternal love. Eventually we all mess up. Have others given up on you? Have you given up on others, or yourself? God will never give up on you!
But how is God’s faithful and perpetual love seen today? Through you as you continue to pray and reach out to the Jewish people (Romans 10:1). In fact, God has two witnesses to His faithful love today. Paul proves that God has not forsaken His people through the witness of Jewish believers that have a present tense Jewish testimony (Romans 11:1-5). In addition, Paul also shows God’s faithfulness through the witness of the Gentile believers, for they are specifically called to make Israel jealous by ministering His mercy to them (Romans 11:11-31). As His perpetual love in Messiah constrains your heart (2 Corinthians 5:14), you too will reveal His faithful love to Israel.
We must never give up on the Jewish people, because God will never give up on us. His call upon Israel is as sure as His faithfulness to His word. God’s faithfulness is at stake. Together we are a living demonstration to the Jewish community of the eternal love of God that will not give up.
God’s Love Is Powerful
The fact that God loves personally and perpetually is wonderful, but His love also changes lives. This is because His love is powerful. God continues to draw us to Himself with His lovingkindness, which is chesed in Hebrew. Chesed is a word that speaks of a relationship commitment to one another, a covenant love and kindness. It is what one would expect to receive when in covenant with another.
Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. (David, 1 Samuel 20:8; see also Psalm 89:28, emphasis mine)
This helps to explain why Yeshua initially sent His disciples only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6), for they were the inheritors of the Abrahamic covenant with God. Yeshua’s reticence in ministering to non-Jews was because they were outside of the Abrahamic Covenant (Matthew 15:26), since all redemptive covenants were made with Israel (Romans 15:8). In Messiah’s atonement, non-Jews could accept God’s gracious invitation and enter into covenant with God and receive God’s chesed in Messiah (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:12).
Thus, through a covenant relationship, God is faithfully drawing us to Himself, continuing His lovingkindness toward us, and never letting us go. Why? Because His character is love He therefore has the constant conduct of love (1 John 4:8). He loves us personally, perpetually, and powerfully!