Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus said the LORD; I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals…
A remarkable passage: to be taken in its evident meaning, and not to be explained away. What a loving use to make of the past faithfulness and attachment of his people! He would remind them of them, that they may repent and return.
I. IT IS FULL OF INTEREST TO HIM. TO those who feel intense love for others, it is exceedingly grateful to find their love reciprocated. High, pure, disinterested love, like that of God for men, never receives equal return; but what it does elicit it prizes beyond all its intrinsic value. The parent thinks more of the child's love for him than the child of the parent's.
1. It spoke of trust. There is no fear or selfishness in love Divine love awakens. The wilderness could not daunt the simple hearts of faithful Israel. They were willing to take God at his word, and to look for the ]and of promise. So with respect to Christ.
2. It spoke of gratitude. He had saved them from Egypt's bondage, and made them his own freemen. No service was too arduous; no trial too severe. Jesus has saved us from sin and its consequences; we owe to him a deeper gratitude.
3. It spoke of an affection that was its own reward. There was delight in the presence and communion of God. Worship was rapture. The chief interest of life was spiritual and Divine. The life of Israel was separated and sanctified to God. Love that could manifest itself thus was a sign and guarantee that the love of God had not been in vain.
II. ITS FAILINGS ARE CONDONED BY ITS GENUINENESS. No mention is made of their murmurings, their disobedience, and unbelief. Where the true spirit of Divine love is exhibited God can forgive defects, etc. To him it is enough for the present that we do our best, and are true and earnest. So at the first signs of repentance he is willing to forget all our offences. What is good and real in men, is of infinitely more value to him than we can imagine, and for the sake of that he is willing to cover the guilty past. This is all the more precious a trait in the Divine character that it does not spring from ignorance of us. He knows us altogether, our secret thoughts, our down-sitting and our uprising. The readiness of God so to forgive and to overvalue past love and trust on the part of his people, ought to fill us with compunction and shame. We ought to ask, "Was this our love?" "Lord, when saw we thee an hungred," etc.?
III. THOUGH TRANSIENT, IT ELICITS AN ETERNAL ATTACHMENT AND LEAVES AN UNDYING MEMORY. "I remember." It ought to be a strong motive to the Christian to think that his-little works of faith and labors of love are so highly prized, and so long remembered. "For thy works' sake." Who would not rather charge the memory of God with such gracious memories, that "heap up wrath against the day of wrath?" - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
WEB: "Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says Yahweh, "I remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your weddings; how you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.