A Note from Michael Gossett
A God who Yearns
On the surface, Jeremiah would not be a “go to” book to find a place of comfort. Jeremiah 1:16 says, “I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil.” Jeremiah 2:13 says, “My people have forsaken me.” Jeremiah 3:2 says, “You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom.” Jeremiah 4:14 says, “O Jerusalem, how long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you?” Jeremiah 5:23 says, “This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart.” Jeremiah 6:7 says, “As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her evil. This continues on for twenty-nine chapters. Not much comfort to find there… Conviction? Sure! Comfort? Not really.
However, there is a moment of summation that takes place in what scholars call the Book of Consolation. Chapters 30-33 provide a glimpse into a reality that is unexpected for the wicked and that is comfort. Jeremiah 31:20 says, “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him declares the Lord.” This is the Lord speaking to this broken people who are going against the ways of the Lord and yet the Lord yearns for something greater. Ephraim is simply another term for Israel. This is God’s people. These are the chosen ones that are the covenant people of God Himself. The darling child, the ones clothed with His law, His commands, His covenant, and His love. Even through for twenty-nine chapters, a laundry list of rebellious ways surface, it does not ever mean that the Lord is turning His back on His dear son, Israel. The Lord remembers. The fact that the Lord remembers does not mean that He is in the business of having to “recall” something that was once forgotten, but rather is the language of acknowledging His covenant with His beloved people.
As Jeremiah pens, the Lord reveals a yearning for His people. “Therefore my heart yearns.” The idea of Heart is typical in Hebrew fashion to speak of the inner self. However, here is different. This carries a different word in Hebrew “meah.” This term literally refers to the insides of a person. This is in reference to someone’s guts or bowels. This is why (if you recall) in the KJV, this is transliterated to “bowels.” Of course, this is anthropomorphic language sinse the Lord does not literally have bowels. This gives us a picture of intense yearning or an intense longing. Now, the word used here for yearn is even different than we would expect. The idea here from the Hebrew is actually more fitting to say, restless, agitated, or growling. The Lord is revealing something about Himself to us. This is denoting the intensity by which He yearns for His people. This should change our understanding of how God perceives us being the ones that He has rescued. As you live, the Lord is not waiting for you to mess up, so that He can hang it over your head. As you pray, the Lord is not waiting for you to come to Him, so that He can show you how harmful His wrath is. Instead, what flows from God is mercy upon mercy because He intensely yearns for His mercy to be received by His children to whom His mercies are given. Do not fall into the temptation of believing that God is ever against you. This should be reflected in how we approach Him. We do not sin so that we may receive more of God’s mercy. Instead, because of His mercy and His longing for us, it causes us to be more enamored by His presence than anything else in our lives. In fact, knowing how God longs for us, produces righteousness through us and in return a deep yearning from us for the things of God. Live with the knowledge that God longs for you in such a way that He was willing to send His only begotten son to come down to earth, live a perfect life on our behalf, save those who would trust in Him as their savior, so that they would not just live eventually in heaven, but live life abundantly now. Knowing that God who yearns for you, let us yearn more for the presence of God until His return. It will be that day that our faith becomes sight, sin will be no more, pain will disappear, and our longings ultimately fulfilled.
This Sunday at Green Acres!
This Sunday is going to “feel” a little different! I am so excited and I am praying for the Lord to flood our services in all three campuses and all five services! This week, we are concluding the book of James and to prepare, read James 5:13-20 as we study Wisdom with Prayer. Come expectant for God to move in your life and come expectant to be transformed even further into the likeness of Christ! You can join us at the Tyler Campus at 9:30 or 11:00 for worship, 8:00, 9:30, or 11:00 Connect Groups, our Flint Campus at 9:30 and 11:00 for worship and Connect Groups and our Español Campus (in Crosswalk) at 9:30 for Connect Groups and 11:00 for worship. We cannot wait to see you here!
I would love to invite you to join us this coming Wednesday, November 8th at 6 PM in Crosswalk to listen as our Local Missions Minister Samuel Sadler interviews a former Catholic on how we can effectively share the gospel with those from a Catholic background. Click HERE to register for this free evangelism training event (Childcare available)!
I am so excited that the East Texas Area Council, Boy Scouts of America will be honoring Pastor David with the Distinguished Citizen Award on December 5, 2023 in our Crosswalk Conference Center. This is a well-deserved award and could not go to a better man! If you would like to be a part, table sponsors are available here.
MAN TALK is happening again on November 14 in Worship Center Room 150 from 6:15 am – 7:00 am. You can sign up to come hang out with other men, be encouraged in the Word, great food, and even better brotherhood. I hope to see you there!
Cannot wait to see you this Sunday!
You are loved and prayed for!