In Jeremiah the Lord speaks in chapter 31:3-4 and says:

"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt...'"

The story of the rebelliousness of Abraham's descendants and their constant turning away from God brought a lot of sorrow to Jeremiah. He persevered as a prophet despite the constant disappointment of not being listened to. Yet though all the words of judgement, God still gives these pearls of encouragement.

When God said that "I have loved you..." it is written in the past tense and sounds like something that happened a long time ago. With Israel being so unfaithful to God we don't question that they were loved, but does God still love them now? Yes He does.

It is with an everlasting, or eternal love that God loves Israel. Despite her unfaithfulness and rebellion, she is still loved, and will in fact always be loved. She will never be unloved.

From a New Testament vantage point, we see what Paul says in the book of Romans, that Israel is "much loved" (Romans 11:28) and confirms what the Lord said to Jeremiah. Yet Paul shows us something else, we who are not Jewish, and not physically descended from Abraham, are considered to be the children of Abraham because of our faith. (Galatians 3:7) We are grafted into the same tree. (Romans 11:15-20)

So this Israel which God has eternally loved, includes us, who were formerly foreigners to Israel. Now we belong. This eternal love of God surrounds us also.

And what does God continue to say in verse 4, "I will build you up again." So the Israel that was formerly exiled and punished for her sins, is now being rebuilt, through Christ, and it includes us. We are a part of this Israel that is rebuilt, but is also being rebuilt.

God has plans for a church that is made of living stones, comprising the relationships and love of all of its people, you, I, and others. This Israel is not like the other Israel, and God is with us and we will find great joy in our God. It is His doing, and we are glad of it.