In the Old Testament, God's people forsook him again and again, yet each time he restored them and blessed them incredibly. The Lord had every right to give up on Israel, but he remained ever faithful to them. Nehemiah sums up this wonderful truth about God’s nature:
"After they had rest, they again did evil before You. . . . Yet when they returned and cried out to You, You heard from heaven; and many times You delivered them according to Your mercies. . . . Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful" (Nehemiah 9:28, 31).
The prophet Isaiah knew this aspect of God's nature. Like Moses before him, Isaiah preached about God's judgment against sin. He spoke of dark days of despair to come upon those living in continual rebellion. Yet amid one of his most direct messages, Isaiah stopped to make this statement:
“I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses” (Isaiah 63:7).
Everywhere Isaiah turned he saw backsliding and apostasy in Israel. Yet, despite this, Isaiah looked into his heart and recalled a revelation of what God was truly like. And he began praising God for his faithfulness: "Oh, Lord, we have rebelled against you and turned from your Holy Spirit. Save us again by your great mercy. Stir up your compassion toward us. You are full of lovingkindness."
Later the prophet Joel gave dire warnings, but even as he prophesied about massive earthquakes and the darkening of the sun and moon, he suddenly began speaking of God’s loving nature:
“Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13).
Beloved, there are times when we need to remember this revelation of the Lord’s mercy for ourselves.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon