The love, mercy, and compassion of God

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Knowing God”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love.” Psalm 103:8 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “The love, mercy, and compassion of God”
 
Yesterday we spent some time thinking about the parable of the Prodigal Son. To help set the scene and the tone for that devotional, I asked us all to first listen to the Chris Tomlin song, “Good, Good, Father”. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ak0OoFBw3c) It would be helpful to listen to it again this morning because it’s such a beautiful and touching portrayal of what a loving, kind, merciful, and compassionate Father we have in heaven. There’s a good reason Jesus chose to describe the Father like that to us. It’s because that’s how He wants us to know Him.
 
Many people have trouble imagining God like that because that’s not the kind of relationship they had with their human father. The kind of relationship we had with our human fathers often sets the tone for the way we think about our Father in heaven. Sadly, all too often, our human fathers were stern and demanding, often angry, and sometimes worse. Those memories can color how we think of God as Father.
 
Beyond that, the Bible itself provides us with other attributes of God that we sometimes find troubling. In some places we read of his anger and wrath, of judgment and discipline, even of hellfire and eternal damnation. So, what do we do with that?
 
First, we need to realize that the attribute of God that we get to experience in any given moment is the one that is most appropriate to our situation at that time. Sometimes anger, wrath, judgment, or discipline is what is called for. But that’s not God’s default mode with us. Those things only happen when absolutely necessary and when we have left Him no other way to deal with us.
 
The reason Jesus chose to show us the Father the way He did in the story of the Prodigal Son is because that’s how God wants us to know Him. That’s His default mode with us. The overwhelming weight of Scripture reveals to us a God who loves us eternally, grieves for us when we suffer and struggle, cares about us, reaches out to us, draws us to Himself, and wants us to be with Him in a deep and intimate love relationship. That’s the great truth being communicated in Psalm 103:8 (above). This is how God wants to be known by us.
 
We’ll think more about this in the days to come. For now, I encourage all of us to spend some time just being with God and enjoying our relationship with Him. You might even want to listen to the Chris Tomlin song again.
 
God bless,
Pastor Jim 
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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