God Is Kind to Sinners
"But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity." (Psalm 78:36-38)
David's musician Asaph wrote a poem, Psalm 78, that tells part of Israel's story. That story shows just how sinful God's people are, but it shows, too, just how kind God is toward His sinful people.
The awe-inspiring God made an agreement with the tiny nation Israel: He would be their own God, and they would be His own people. Of course, the Israelites felt so thankful for God's kindness that they did everything He asked. Right?
Not exactly. Asaph says, in fact, that the Israelites "kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them." Still, God showed His people kindness. He performed a miracle to rescue them at the Red Sea, and He led them with a cloud and with fire in the wilderness, and when they were thirsty He made water gush out of a rock.
But the Israelites refused to trust the God who had been so kind to them. Instead, they challenged Him. Yes, they said, God performed a miracle when we needed water. But can He give us bread, too?
Was God so frustrated with the Israelites that He abandoned them? Actually, God "opened the doors of heaven" and gave the Israelites food. And in response to God's amazing kindness, the Israelites...kept on sinning.
And God kept on showing kindness. This time His kindness took the form of punishment, meant to bring the Israelites back to Him. In spite of "all this," Asaph says, "they sinned still, and believed not." Did God say "I've had enough"? No again; He dealt with His people, punishing them so that they would turn around. And they did turn around, for a while, but "their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant." But God didn't give up. Instead, "being full of compassion," He "forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not."
Is Asaph's story becoming a bit predictable? Asaph must have felt the same way, because he sums up a lot of history in a few lines: "many a time [God] turned...his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath."
God shows kindness toward sinners, doing good to them even though they hurt Him over and over again.
» Do I ignore God's kindness? Or do I allow God's kindness to turn me back to Him?
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