Today’s Bible readings are 2 Kings 10:32-12:21, Acts 18:1-22, Psalm 145:1:21, & Proverbs 18:1
8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.
Religion & the enemy have done such a disservice to people. Many have come to believe that God is an angry being in a faraway place that is waiting for you & me to mess up so He can strike us with a lightning bolt to punish us for our wrong doings. When most people think about God, this is the image that they get.
This is one of the main things that Jesus came to correct. He wanted to show us who God really is. Listen to what He declared to the people that He came to save:
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus was speaking to religious people. He was speaking to people who were trying to follow & obey the Law in order to find favor with God. They were trying to earn God’s love. They were trying to work their way into right standing with Him. This left them feeling more empty & more alone. They soon found out what every person who lives a works based life discovers—“I can never be good enough.”
Works based religion always leaves us feeling “not good enough”. We realize our failures & we focus on our efforts to please God. Of course, when we fail to reach the standard we have been told that God is there to punish. It leaves us feeling like we are failures. It leaves us thinking that God is mad at us & we are deserving of punishment. NOT THE CASE!!!
God declares to us what His true nature is.
1. He is merciful.
This means that He is full of mercy. We seem to magnify a false nature of God. We think that He is full of wrath. This is not accurate. God poured out ALL of His wrath on Jesus at the cross. He has no wrath left to pour out on you. The wrath of God has been COMPLETELY satisfied in Christ.
Isaiah 53:10-11 (KJV)
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
God DOES NOT want to punish you when you fail. WHY??? Because He is FULL OF MERCY!!!
1. He wants to heal you.
2. He wants to forgive you.
3. He wants to cleanse you.
4. He wants to bless you.
5. He wants to speak to you.
6. He wants to walk with you.
7. He wants to prosper you.
2. God is patient & slow to anger.
We are impatient. God is patient. He is not like men that blow up at the slightest little things. He doesn’t disown you just because you don’t get it right the first few times. He doesn’t right you off just because you made another mistake. He is patient & slow to anger.
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
We need to magnify this characteristic of our Father. He is patient with us & patient with sinners. We send the message that God showers down punishment, when in reality He says that He showers down His loving kindness. Let’s get it right for a change.
3. God is good to all.
Stop & let that sink deep into your heart & mind. God is good. He wants to show goodness to you. He is not the one trying to harm you. That is your enemy. You should resist your enemy & embrace your good God. We get that backwards when we don’t recognize the true nature of God. We blame God & resist Him. He is not the reason bad things happen. He is the answer when they do! He is not the source of pain & hurt. He is the way out.
Let’s work at transforming our minds by speaking these things regularly about our Father. Speak out loud that He is merciful, patient, & good. Let this cleanse your mind & break the stronghold that the enemy has built. This is the way to experience God in His true nature. This is how we find an easy & light yoke.