Therefore My Heart Yearns For Him

But here at the center of the book, the pinnacle from which the whole fifty-two-chapter book can be viewed, is the Book of Consolation. And within these four chapters, perhaps the text that sums it all up best is 31:20:

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.

“Ephraim” is just another term for Israel, God’s people, though it appears to be a sort of divine term of affection for Israel throughout the Old Testament. And God asks, “Is he my darling child?” God is not wondering. It’s a declaration, clothed in the gentleness of a question. His people are his “dear son” and even his “darling child.” Does your doctrine of God have room for him speaking like that?

“For as often as I speak against him”—as he has for twenty-nine chapters, scathingly upbraiding his people—“I do remember him still.” Remember here is not faculty of recall. This is God. He is all-knowing. He holds all truth about all things in all times in his mind with equal, perfect knowledge. Remember here is covenant language. It is relational. This is remembering not as the alternative to forgetting but as the alternative to forsaking.

And then comes the high point of the key verse of the four-chapter center of the book of Jeremiah: “Therefore my heart yearns for him.”

Ortlund, Dane C.. Gentle and Lowly (pp. 142-143). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

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