PRAISE THE Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! (Psalms 106.1, AMP)This week, I would like you to consider the context of the above declaration of God’s eternal, ever abounding love. In this chapter there is an emphasis and focus that is foreign to much of today’s religious conditioning.
First, the Psalmist sums up our condition:
“We’ve sinned a lot, both we and our parents; We’ve fallen short, hurt a lot of people.” (Psalms 106.6 The Message)
Not only had they hurt a lot of people, but they did not understand or appreciate God’s mercy toward them.
“Our fathers in Egypt understood not nor appreciated Your miracles; they did not [earnestly] remember the multitude of Your mercies nor imprint Your loving-kindness [on their hearts], but they were rebellious and provoked the Lord at the sea, even at the Red Sea.” (Psalms 106.7 AMP)
Did you catch that? Because they did not understand or appreciate God’s mercy and grace, they failed to remember His love! They failed to have His love imprinted on their hearts! This is what led to their rebellion!
Today, due to a failure on our part to understand how central an understanding of God’s love is, and because of our short-sightedness in perceiving that simple doctrinal accuracy is not enough, I see the same thing that existed among Israel existing in our hearts! Leanness in our souls. (Psalms 106:15, AMP)
Don’t misunderstand. The doctrines paint a correct picture of God’s love. The correct standards reveal to us the great principles of God’s other-centered love. But many times we fall into the trap of focusing on the doctrines and standards to the exclusion of allowing these very things to illuminate our hearts to that very other-centered Love that so radically changes our lives.
Notice how God continually responded back then. I believe He responds the same way today.
“Still, when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help, He remembered his Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand. He poured out his mercy on them . . .” (Psalms 106.44 The Message)
“Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” (Romans 5:20) How did God respond? Yes there was discipline, but even in the context of that discipline He continually poured out His love and grace until they would get it. The reality, however, is that only a few understood. The majority never did.
“Over and over God rescued them, but they never learned.” (Psalms 106.43 The Message)
It is my prayer that Israel’s history will not be repeated by God’s people today. Yet, the only way for that to be circumvented is for us, personally, to make it our emphasis, our focus, our quest to understand and appreciate His grace, His compassion, His great other-centeredness. Only this emphasis will enable us so that we can have that imprint or seal of His love upon our hearts and lives. God’s great self-abandoning love! This is to be our message, our banner, our emphasis, our cry to this pain-racked world. Only this will answer, finally, the “controversy” that began so long ago in regards to His character of love.
“The Whole Spiritual Life is molded by our conception of Him, and if we cherish erroneous views of His character, our souls will sustain injury!” (White, Review and Herald, January 14, 1890)
I wish you God’s best this week.