“Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness.” Jeremiah 3:22
What a week it has been! I feel like I’ve been riding on a roller coaster! At some point the ride will stop and I’ll be able to get off at the station right? I could use some steady ground about now!
And today, that’s the Word of God. Stable and consistent and always applicable for my situation in life. I don’t know how He does it, I just know that He does it.
I’ve been holding on to this little gem for a few days now, just waiting for the right time to share it with you. Waiting was hard. But when I saw Jeremiah 3:22 I knew it was the right fit because the first step in this journey through the Bible takes place in the Garden of Eden in the moment just after the peak of humanities faithlessness; the fateful bite of the forbidden fruit. Turn with me, if you will, to Genesis 3:22-24 and the conversation God is having with Himself over the fall of man and what He should do about it.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever – therefore the LORD God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Someone could look at this passage and think that God is speaking out of anger toward man and choosing, out of anger, to deny man the gift of eating from the Tree of Life. But that’s truly not the case at all. No. God is too wise to act merely in anger toward anyone or anything. Casting humanity out of the Garden of Eden was NOT a decision He took lightly. No, God drove them out of the garden because it was the right thing to do. The Tree of Life bears fruit that when eaten grants eternal life, and there was no way that God was going to allow His precious creation to stay in that naked and ashamed state for all of eternity. No, He had a plan; it was for their good and not their harm. It was a plan for a future hope that would redeem the greatest mistake humanity has ever made. But in order for that plan to work He had to do something that would hurt Him more than it hurt man; He had to drive them from the very place that had been created just for them. So while the plan involved pain, it was for their good was it not?
Next, if you’ll turn to Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 you’ll find even more good news! It may look a little familiar because we were just there a few days ago. (It’s almost like I planned that ahead of time isn’t it. *snicker*)
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before Him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.”
Whatever God does endures forever, what an amazing statement! If we look back at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to the cherubim and the flaming sword we will, forever, see them standing in that entrance. They won’t move, they won’t change, they stand there for all eternity guarding that entrance to Paradise and a face to face relationship with God the creator Himself.
But there’s more to this verse than meets the eye. Not only is Solomon’s statement about the permanence of God profound, it’s amazingly comforting for someone who lives in a world that is constantly changing and shifting like the sand on the shore. But to God who is eternal, that which is the present, it already has happened. And that which is to be in the future, it already has been. How amazingly peaceful, like the waves rolling back and forth over the shoreline, this Truth that no matter what is going on in our lives, from God’s viewpoint in eternity it’s already happened, is over and we’re hanging out in heaven sipping the lemonade He made with our lemons.
But then my friends, comes the Wham-o of a statement that just rocks my world. “God seeks what has been driven away”. I’ve got to be honest, when I came across that one the other day I cried. It wasn’t new to me, but it’s what I needed to hear.
I think humanity has been tormented with that moment from the Garden for a very long time. We were created in the image of God. We were created for a face to face relationship with Him. Yet in that moment in the Garden when God sent Adam and Eve away the space that His presence was supposed to fill inside them was ripped away leaving a eternal hole that only the infinite Spirit of God could fill. And yet humanity has done it’s upmost best to try and fill that hole with anything and everything but God.
I don’t know about men, but I know that women have a desperate need to feel needed and wanted and desired. And guess what, that desire can really only be fulfilled by God and His desire for us. I wept last night for many reasons, but mostly because I was feeling rejected. And in that moment as my mind went through the list of ways I felt rejected it came to the resting place where God sits and waits for me to remember Him. And there He was just waiting to remind me that even if everyone in the whole world rejects me, He doesn’t.
That word, “seeks”, in Ecclesiastes 3:15, it’s the Hebrew word baqash. It means to seek, require, desire, exact, request, to find, secure. God doesn’t just seek you, He requires a relationship with you in order to be complete. His love is incomplete without someone to receive it. He so desperately desires a relationship with you.
And then there’s that phrase “what has been driven away”. In Hebrew it’s the word “radaph” and it means to be behind, follow after, pursue, run after, attend closely upon, to eagerly aim to secure, to pursue ardently.
Now tell me, according to these scriptures alone does it look like God is angry with you? Would someone who is angry with you seek you because of an eager aim to secure you and keep you safe? Or would that be something that someone does because they love you and care about you and want to do what is in your best interest?
Let’s check out Psalm 23:6 for a minute and then I’ll ask you that again. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of the my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Do you see that phrase “shall follow me”? Yeah, it’s that same Hebrew word, radaph! What part of goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life conveys a message of lingering anger and rejection from your Father? God seeks what has been driven away. His mercy follows you ALL the days of your life. Any misstep you make, Mercy and Goodness are there to pick you up, dust you off and help you recover.
But wait! We’re not done yet! There’s more!
If you take a peek at John 6:37 you’ll find Jesus telling the crowd that He is the Bread of Life, the manna sent from heaven, and then He says, “All those the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.” (NIV)
Did you catch that? He took us all right back there to that fateful moment that burned all of humanity when our Beloved Creator cast us out of the Garden of Relationship with Him. He took us right back there and showed us that guarded entrance. We looked at it forlornly knowing full well that there was no way we could get back in and He explains to us that He is the Way. Jesus is the key that unlocks that guarded door and opens it up to a fully restored eternal relationship with our Father God the creator! Now if that isn’t good news I don’t know what is!
God is desperately in love with you my friend. He desires you more than you could ever imagine. And even if the entire world rejects you, He accepts you and loves you enough to chase after you day after day in order to get your attention. He is desperate for a relationship with you, a real relationship where you talk and hang out and do stuff together for fun. He no longer calls you servant, because a servant doesn’t know what His master is doing. He calls you FRIEND because He desires to share His secrets with you; secrets that no one else in this world knows. (John 15: 12-17)
Take comfort today my Beloved, no matter how rejected you may feel, it is simply a complete and total lie from Satan; because you are completely and totally loved and accepted through Jesus.
(P.S. I have not had time to proof read/edit this post, if you see typos please tell me!!!!!)