Stubborn Love

Before you start reading here, flip to Jeremiah 32:26-44.

Don’t you just love how the Bible is a living document? Every time you read it, something new pops out. 66 books, 686 pages and it never gets old. I think that’s proof enough that our God exists!

With all the tragedies that are happening in the world lately, I’m feeling a pressure put on my heart to start memorizing verses. My gut is telling me, and I don’t think I’m the only one, that our time for free worship is coming to a close. Without being overly paranoid, I do believe that soon Christians will be limited in their public worship. And when that time comes, I want to say that I have God’s word embedded on my heart and mind. I want to know that I haven’t wasted my time expecting the world to stay all fine and dandy.

That being said, I flipped to a verse that I love this morning and decided to start memorizing it. Which, by the way, is so much easier than when I was a kid. I chose Jeremiah 32:39-42 to memorize.

“I will give them singleness of heart and mind, so that they will always fear me for their own good and for the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. This is what the Lord says: as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity {or: bring them back from captivity} I have promised them.”

I love this verse. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous! God has built it into our hearts and our minds to follow him. We naturally have an urge to find him and follow him. And not only that, he will NEVER stop doing good to us. He is excited to do goodness for us, he will give us prosperity and bring us back from captivity as he has promised us.

After I read this verse and thought “Wow, this is amazing! What other God can say that they stubbornly love their people like this and will provide for them this well?”, I glanced up to the top of the page and saw another verse I had highlighted.

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything to hard for me?” vs. 26

And I decided to read from vs. 26 to the end of the chapter.

Jeremiah is coming to God, begging him to save the people of Israel and Judah from the Babylonians who are about to make a final attack on the city in order to completely destroy it. He’s also confused. God has just given him instructions to purchase a piece of land…What? But the city is about to be taken over! Look kid. Just do what I’ve said and trust me. I am the Lord, the God of ALL mankind. Is ANYTHING to hard for me?

I just love it when God talks back to people. He doesn’t mess around, he doesn’t sugar-coat things, he’s pretty sarcastic and it’s pretty hilarious. Humbling, but hilarious.

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything to hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says…” (emphasis by me…duh…when have you every seen underlining in the Bible).

“You know, the Lord? The God of all mankind? The God that has control of everything and nothing is impossible for Him? Yeah, this is what that Lord says.”

And then God goes on to point out how much the people of Israel and Judah have screwed up, how they’ve hypocritically turned their backs to him but still claimed to be Christians, how they’ve worshiped other gods IN his house, how they’ve provoked God into anger, how they’ve defiled his name, how they’ve refused to listen to him or respond to his discipline. Basically, God is so angered with them he wants to remove them from his sight.

But. God is the God of all mankind and nothing is to hard for him.

So instead of giving Israel and Judah what they deserve, he’ll give them singleness of heart and mind to follow him. Instead of allowing them to be destroyed, he’s going to make a promise to them that he will not stop loving them. Instead of allowing them to be defeated, he’s going to “rejoice” in doing good to them, he’s going to give them a home, prosperity and take them out of captivity.

Think of all the times you’ve been a hypocrite. What about that time you showed up hung-over for church? Or that time you lied? Or that time you denied what you knew God was trying to tell you? Or that time you created an idol out of money or work or relationships instead of spending time with God? (Oh wait, is that just me? Am I the only one? Insert winky face because I know we’re all in the same boat).

If God was in human form he would be standing in front of us telling us how much he loves us while he bled on the floor from the effort. And he would be rejoicing while he did it.

We have a God with stubborn love. We can do whatever we want and he will refuse to give up on us. And we know it. We have a God Radar build into us that is constantly reminding us that he’s wanting to spend time with us. And while we are out doing our dirty deeds, God pouring love into our lives and planning our escape from captivity…even as we defile his name.

And if you want your mind completely blown, think of how he’s asking us to have this same love for those around us.

So. Two things.

First, how about we start responding to this stubborn love? Lets have some stubborn love in return. Even when we don’t feel the emotions we want to feel towards God, lets actively, stubbornly, chase after him.

Second, lets try to have this type of love for those around us. This world is quickly becoming a world filled with obvious hate. Think of how God loves us even when people treat him so badly and lets make an effort to reflect that in our daily lives.

I’m going to read over these verses a few times. Maybe spend a few days thinking of how crazy God’s love is for me and really allowing myself to soak it in. And then spend a few days reading over it as though he’s asking me to love those around me with this type of stubborn love.

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