Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In The Presence of God's Compassion

For God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, 
but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16

No matter what we think about a situation or how we feel about it, we should know that God is sovereign; that He is in control.
The account of Jonah displays not only God’s sovereignty in our life, but His love, mercy and compassion for the world.  Submission to God’s will is the answer to avoiding some of the negative situations we find ourselves in just as trusting in the sovereignty of God will see us through our difficult times.  

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  I Peter 5:7

Jonah and the city of Nineveh both found this to be true.  When we submit to God’s will, we find our self in the presence of God’s compassion.  Looking at our actions, confronting them and confessing to God brings about compassion from God and a removal of the impact from the negative situation.  

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:9

Despite our actions, God loves us.  He tells us this in his word: 

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17

That’s love!  God loves us so much that He will deal with us right where we are.  But, it is a reciprocal relationship.  He meets us where we are when we present our self to Him just as we are; sin, flaws and all!

It’s not too often that we don’t know what state we’re in in our relationship with God.  We know when we have strayed from God either in our heart or by our actions.  We know when we are disobedient to God’s will in regard to the purpose or path designed for our life.  We get caught up in situations, our life is not flowing quite the way we think it should be flowing, we’re faced with negativity in nearly every aspect of our life and we begin to question or wonder about the love of God.  Worse still, we become so distracted, we forget about God.  We begin to have thoughts like, 'God must not love me', or 'if He did, why . . . '  without ever taking into consideration our actions, let alone the condition of our heart.  When what we really should be doing is looking inward at our life and the condition of our heart.  What  message is your actions sending God, what is our heart communicating to Him?  These are questions we need to ask ourselves as we take an inward look at ourselves.  Even when our heart, intentions and actions are sincere before God, we still look to Him for guidance and direction.   

Though this may be a difficult task for you, God has already stated in his word to Joshua:

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  Joshua 1:7

When you set your heart against God, you are in a perilous state.  

Love is an affair of the heart and if we want an open flow of God’s love, we have to correct the unhealthy state of our heart.

Consider Jonah; a prophet, a messenger of God during the reign of King Jeroboam who was sent on a mission to deliver a message to the City of Nineveh.  Instead of Jonah being obedient to God, he went directly against God’s will.  What made Jonah do this?

Jonah was in his “righteous indignation”.  Jonah knew God to be a good, gracious and merciful God. And in his self nature, he did not want the City of Nineveh, an enemy of the Israelites, spared because of all the atrocities they committed against his people.  He forgot that “it wasn’t about him”.  God has a plan for our life that in spite of whatever blessings or favor or perks you get out of it, that plan is designed to reveal the glory of God!  Every good and bad thing we go through is so that the glory of God may be revealed.

But Jonah overrode this and he set in his heart to go against God’s will and got on a ship going to an entirely different city.  God sent a storm and the seamen were forced to throw Jonah overboard and a great fish swallowed him.  He stayed inside the fish for 3 days.  Can you imagine being stuck in a cold, dark place like that; all alone, no way of escape; a seemingly impossible situation; not being able to call on anyone to help you?  But our gracious and loving God knew exactly what He was doing when He allowed the fish to swallow him.    Jonah was now in a position where he could do nothing but consider his situation.  And he did just that – he looked inward and then he looked up!  You can tell he looked inward and considered his heart based on what he said to God as he prayed to Him.  He acknowledged to God where he was at, what led him there and then he re-committed himself to God.  Here is Jonah's prayer to God in his time of distress:

 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,  And said , I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about , the weeds were wrapped about my head.  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever:  yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.  

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.   Jonah 2:1-8

God is full of compassion and faithful to forgive as we come to him in godly sorrow.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

Jonah concluded his prayer by acknowledging that Salvation is of the LORD.  It is not our place, nor are we in position to judge whom God should have compassion on and whom He should not.  God is full of compassion and mercy; not willing that any should suffer.

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.  Psalms 86:15

(Biblical Studies)


1 comment:

  1. Yes I agree it is all about our heart relationship with God. We often forget to keep things right with our God and the more we choose to ignore His will and purpose for our lives the easier it becomes. But, God in His great love for us lets our choices catch up to us and the consequences of our sins many times drive us back into right relationship with Him. Better not to stray at all.


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