The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:7-10)
Our God is love. He doesn’t merely have love, He is Love. To resist the LORD is to resist Love, and goodness and truth.
Throughout the sacred scriptures God has revealed his heart of love to mankind, and the greatest revelation of Divine Love of all, is the cross of Jesus Christ. In that singular act of God, all access to the LOVE of God is given.
There are several scriptures that run through my mind as I write this article. My paltry words could never truly do justice to the subject I wrote of, but we are called to bear witness to the truth, and the Love of God is a great and profound truth. ( I wouldn’t want to live without the Love of God, would you?).
The 103rd Psalm is loaded with the Revelation of his Love. Verse seven is an echo of an earlier revelation, the dramatic self disclosure of God, when Moses asked Him to reveal His glory.
Merciful – God has a heart of compassion for sinners, and is willing to extend mercy to the undeserving. His heart literally grieves for the miseries that our sins have brought upon us.
Gracious, The LORD is Inclined to give and do for the unworthy ones, what they could never do for themselves. Salvation is all of the LORD’s grace. None of us deserve to be saved , nor could any of us have paid the price for our sins, (not in this life or in the Ages to come).
The Apostle Paul opens a chapter with these blessed words… “But God, who is rich in mercy and for the great Love wherewith He has loved us….”(Ephesians 2:1-4)
Slow to Anger, – when I finally saw the LORD, I was able to get a glimpse of my self, in a kind of a shattering way. I could see something of the enormity of my sins, the liability to Judgment I was under, the true guilt I had incurred, and the fact that all of my sins were direct affronts to God himself and his universe.
I tremble when I think of the day when the Righteous wrath of God will be revealed, and marvel at his patience. The Apostle Peter put it this way, “ Account that the Long-suffering of God is salvation…”.
God is a Father, and has a Father heart for his children. One of the Proverbs always touches me, for in it I hear my Father pleading with me, “My Son Give me your heart…”( Proverbs 23:26).
Being a Father myself, I now know in a deeper way what He is saying here.
Is it not the oldest story in the book, that a man has children, and when they are young, Father can do no wrong! They believe us, they emulate us and want to be like us, as long as we have their heart, ie as long as they can respect and believe us, they will believe that all of their happiness is tied up in the counsel of their Father.
But the World is against the Love of the Father, ( see I John 2:15-17) and seeks to draw the children away, in their hearts from their parents. So many things come together in this wicked and perverse generation to alienate children from parents; the culture, school, ‘entertainment’, etc. And obviously as human parents we do not do everything right.
True Parents want their children to believe them, and to believe that their way is right,. Especially about things like drugs, sexual sin, money, work, etc. When the child’s heart is torn away from their parents, they then become vulnerable to the seduction and deceptions of this AntiChristian World.
I now see why God pleads with us, “My Son give me your heart!”. He would spare us from the evils we are prone to, if only we still love and believed in Him! If only we would see that His way is the right way, and the only path to lasting happiness.
If only they had such a heart to fear Me and keep all My commandments always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever. (Deuteronomy 5:29)
If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.( Isaiah 48:18)
It hurts to Love, because Love involves freewill. Do you hear this anguish of the Father, that if only his children believed Him? They would be spared from such pain and sorrow, but they thought they knew better.
So our cry as parents has often come from the Proverb above, we plead with God to have our children and grandchildren “give us their hearts”. Who could possibly love them more (Humanly speaking)?
Another passage that speaks of this Father heart of Love, is in the book of Hosea, when God mourns over backslidden Israel,
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.( Hosea 11:1-3)
Listen to the Father remember the ‘childhood ‘ of Israel and how tenderly God took him by the hand, and healed them time and again. God’s love hurts God, he intended something better for Ephraim,(Israel, the ten tribes).
How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. (Hosea 11:8-9)
How can I give you up Israel?
As a Father I can somewhat relate to the passage in the last chapter of Hosea, where the Prophet is literally given words to give to the children of Israel to pray and be received…
O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. ( Hosea 14:1-4)
When a child is being stubborn or disobedient, and even rebellious, the Parents are anxious that the fellowship be restored. But principled Christian parenting demands that the sin be addressed, and discipline administered, and that there be a humble confession from the child, before that can happen.In this way our children learn the ways of God.
I have had many instances where I have literally pled with a child to repent, and to confess the offense, so that we can go on loving each other. I confess I have literally told my children at times what to say that would be accepted. That is how badly we want restoration.
Here God does the same thing, he pleads through his prophet, and even tells them what to pray.” Admit it! Ashur can’t save us! Come on, admit it, ask Me to forgive your sins! Just admit that idols made by human hands are not ‘gods’! Come home children, I will heal you of your backsliding, You will find mercy in me! I will love you freely,(which means I will love you tho you give me no cause to), this is the pleading, tender Father heart of God. He sweeps no sin under the carpet, for he is righteous and Holy, But he loves as a Father, or I should say, ideal Fathers seek to love as close to how He does as possible. Shalom…