Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Psalm 86 mentions the steadfast love of God 3 times:
"For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.  ...For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.  ...But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."  Psalm 86:5, 13, 15; ESV

This psalm was sung as worship by Israel to the Lord.  As they would sing this praise to God they would be reminded of the love of God.  But where did they get the idea that God is abounding in steadfast love?  Why do we, today, believe that God is a God of love?  Is this just a good idea from man, or wishful thinking? 

Israel sang songs about God's steadfast love because Israel's God - the God who made everything and rules over all - revealed himself to them as a God of steadfast love!  One of our 'challenges' in our fallen state is that we are unable to know God - unless he chooses to reveal himself to us.  And, praise God, he HAS chosen to reveal himself to man!  God deserves glory for his amazing attributes, and he has shown these attributes to us that we may admire him, value him, love him, treasure him, trust him, and KNOW him. 

All of God's attributes are amazing and glorious, and God is worthy of praise for all of them.  But we are so blessed that one of God's attributes is steadfast love.  What if he was holy but not abounding in steadfast love?  Then we (as guilty of sin and very much UNholy) would rightly receive the full condemnation we deserve, and would all know the fierce wrath of Almighty God.  And God would be glorified and praised for having ridden the universe of creatures as vile as us.  But (and this is a HUGE 'but') God is a God abounding in steadfast love!  Yes he is holy, and yes he will punish sinners and pour out his wrath on those who reject Christ and continue in sin (and yes he will be glorified for that) but - praise God - YES he has made a way to show off his steadfast love to us in Christ crucified!  Hallelujah!

God revealed himself to Israel through Moses' leadership.  Moses had asked to see God's glory, and God covered Moses with his hand, passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands..." (Exodus 34:6-7).  God told them he was a God of steadfast love; they believed him and wrote psalms about it.  And God proved that he was telling the truth, again and again ACTING in steadfast love to his people.  The greatest display of God's steadfast love for his people is the cross of Christ:  "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

This is how God chose to reveal himself to man!  We've GOT to see his amazing love.  He wants us to see it and to love it and to KNOW him in it. 

Take some time to think on the steadfast love of the Lord.  GREAT is his steadfast love!  Put your hope and your delight in the God of steadfast love!  And rejoice with Jeremiah:

"But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'"
Lamentations 3:21-24, ESV

No comments: