Thursday, April 19, 2018

Devotions: Gracious Compassion

However, You bore with them for many years,
And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets,
Yet they would not give ear.
Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them,
For You are a gracious and compassionate God.
Nehemiah 9:30-31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is a continuation of the remnant’s prayer, confessing their sin to God and asking Him to restore them at the first reinstated feast. They recounted further their ancestors’ repeated waywardness, how they continually turned away from God to idols, seeking the help of other gods and nations rather than the One True God. Because of God’s great compassion, He brought up deliverers to deliver them repeatedly, even though their respite would end in more waywardness. He always had compassion, heard their cries and delivered them from their oppressors. Even though they were stiff necked and hard-hearted, He bore with them for many years. Finally, though, He gave them over to exile. Still, He did not make and end of or abandon them, which He easily could have done. Even in His judgment, He was gracious and compassionate.
In the midst of discipline and punishment, it is easy to think that God is uncaring, or that we have gone too far to return, but it is never as bad as we deserve. Our sins and continual turn from God warrant the worst punishment, bereft of any blessing. Yet, He never punishes as bad as He could, and He still richly bestows blessings on us. It is always better than it could be, and we would see that if we saw ourselves and our sin in light of God’s grace and holiness. If we could see how truly wretched we are we would never bemoan our punishment, but would praise God for the blessings and grace we are given. Oh that we could be so aware of His infinite grace and compassion!

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