Tuesday, September 27, 2011

God's Strength of Character

God has strength of character.

That's the wonderful impression I gained this morning during my prayer time as I read two seemingly independent verses.

First I landed on Psalm 117:2: "... great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever."  (NRSV)

Great is his love.  It's not stingy.  It's not merely adequate or satisfactory.  It's abundant!  It's lavish!  It's overflowing! 

His great love is directed toward us.  Because of that love, I flourish.  Because that love is great, I flourish greatly (and will increasingly do so the more I remain in his love).

His love is steadfast.  It doesn't lack endurance.  It doesn't lack foundation.  It doesn't lack sustainability or resource.  It's not characterized by fluctuations or wavering or dips.

His faithfulness endures forever.  He will never leave me.  He will never forsake me.  He will never tire of me.  He will never ignore me.  His faithfulness is unconquerable, undiminishing.

Then I moved over to Ephesians 2:4: "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us" (NRSV).

Again, the great love.

The new element here is his mercy is rich.  Again, not stingy in his mercy, not merely adequate, not merely to get us to a point and then go on its merry way.  But it is lavish and inundating.  It's not like a rain where you're debating about whether to take an umbrella.  It's like a rain where you are willing to be late because you are staying right where you are, umbrella or no, because within seconds you will be drenched.  His mercy is rich and abundant.

Does God do anything halfway?!  What strength of character!  How can we lose?  How can we be lost?  Even though we deserve to; even though we deserve to be.  His love toward us is great and steadfast.  His faithfulness toward us endures forever.  His mercy toward us is rich.  This does not sound like the picture of God as someone waiting to zap us every time we sin, taking great delight in making our lives miserable.

Praise the Lord!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Kent, that's a beautiful focus on God you have there -- God's steadfastness and His richness toward us are forever unmatched. (May Christ be praised!) Psalm 117 was written in celebration of Israel's final deliverance from the Babylonian captivity. Babylonia, like Egypt, is a type of the world in Scripture. Egypt was even called "the iron furnace" (Jeremiah 11:4). For the church's station in life, as well as well as for all believing Israel, THAT'S HORRIBLE! (1 Corinthians 15:32)
In this world, because of Calvary, the Christian's hope in his eventual deliverance from THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL, through resurrection to life, health and happiness (Compare Luke 24:51-53) matches the joy in God, so expressed by Israel in Psalm 117 (part of which you have sited here). In Psalm 8, Kent, Israel's King David staggers in considering the magnitude of God's greatness, aware of our own puniness. About a thousand years later the writer of HEBREWS, reiterates David's awe of God's great steadfastness to His word even in judgment. The writer of HEBREWS, chapter 2, acknowledged Messiah to be the one of whom David prophesied and who was to be crowned with glory and honor even though Messiah, Himself, lived on earth below the angels of God, as does all of humanity. So, having tasted man's devastating death, and having been made "ONE" with us in the flesh, Messiah-Jesus, in bring many sons to glory, calls us His own brothers! We (ALL believers in Christ, the Messiah) are left with what both You, Kent, and King David of Israel have expressed in writing concerning your adulatory awe, wonder and worshipful praise of the faithfulness, mercy, and love that our great God has for such a lowly creature as man (Psalm 113:6-8). And while the world only learns about Him through nature and their conscience (Romans 1:19-21), of which they corrupt and pervert, Israel and the Church have been reveling in His word for centuries: "He shows his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He has not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise the LORD" (Psalm 147:19) --Dad