In these Scriptures Paul is speaking to Gentile Christians…then and now. For in this man-centered world we are cut-off from the promises of God…or as Paul wrote, “without hope and without God.” But we have been brought near to God by the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ…who gave His life as a atonement so we may have the gift of eternal life. God’s compassion was evident to fallen man when we read Isaiah 65:1 which says, “I revealed Myself to those who didn’t ask for Me; I was found by those who didn’t seek Me.” We were once expelled from the dominion of God, banished and living in exile when Jesus came and paid the price…reconciling us back to God and destroying the barrier that sin had created.
When it comes to our relationship with God, it’s man that proves to be the unfaithful party. For God’s merciful kindness towards us is everlasting and forever. In Isaiah 54:7 it says, “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.” So when you’re going through sorrow and you don’t feel God near…remember that His deep loving compassion for you can only but gather you back up in His arms.
When you’re going through the crushing weight of physical, mental, or spiritual distress, you’ll receive two kinds of compassion and consolation from people. You’ll hear sympathetic, sensitive words from friends who really do care, but have never gone through what you’re experiencing. But then there are the empathetic words of those who have lived through what you are currently enduring. These wise words ring true with encouragement and reassurance that… Yes, God is still there and with His love and compassion you’ll make it through.
During the very darkest time of my life I would read Psalm 86 in its entirety out loud every morning. I was alone, isolated from friends and family, and in the middle of a very violent relationship. I felt hopeless, helpless and totally alone. As I read these words out loud, I could almost hear David reminding himself that the Lord was near. And as he recalled all of God’s attributes…His great love, His mercy, compassion, and faithfulness, I too would be reminded of them and what God had done for me. And in the end, just like David, this Psalm gave me the strength and courage to endure for one more day.
What was King Solomon looking for when he gave such a bizarre and brutal order? Before him were two prostitutes seeking justice…both claiming this baby was theirs. On hearing his order, one agreed with it…while the other, filled with compassion for the child, said, “Please my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” That was the visceral reaction King Solomon was looking for…and he gave the baby to that mother. Our God has that same kind of deep compassion towards us. For He looks upon us as a father looks upon his children…with mercy, tenderness and pity.
In these verses, Jeremiah is looking over the utter destruction of Jerusalem…overwhelmed by the suffering of the people…and realizing it was because of their sin that God had allowed it. But Jeremiah also knew of God’s tremendous capacity for compassion towards His people. For in Isaiah 54: 7-8 God says, ” For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” Never underestimate God’s compassion to change any situation from dire to miraculous.
Even when we’re not thinking about Him, God is still thinking about us. He is continually adding to and filling us with His loving kindness and mercy…even times when we don’t really deserve it. And God’s steadfastness towards us often puts to shame the poor example of trust we have of Him. For regardless of how often we’re mindful of Him…God is always thinking about us.
Our relationship with God does not revolve around one spiritual experience we once had. Nor is it about second-hand stories we’ve heard about God. No, our journey with the Lord is an ever growing, ever changing personal relationship with our Heavenly Father…being renewed daily in mind, body, and spirit. Psalm 85:6 tells us, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Today that would be my prayer also…Revive us again, O Lord, for Your glory!
This verse starts out with the words, “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord”. The Hebrew word for “tell” here has two definitions – the first being to remember or reflect upon, the second being to declare or proclaim. When we stop and reflect upon just how much the Lord has done for us…how many good things He has provided…how merciful and kind He has been towards us – how can we not want to share with others this love? Ephesians 2:4 tells us, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” It is only by that unwarranted, unmerited love of God you are the person you are today through Him.
King Hezekiah became ill to the point of death when Isaiah went and said to him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” But it then says that Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord and the Lord relented. The human mind would look at this as God yielding, changing His mind, or just being fickle. But to God, relenting is grounded in compassion not whimsy. Psalm 106:45 says, “…and out of His great love He relented.” Though it may appear to us that God was changing His plan… according to His divine perspective…nothing changed.