History of Redemption: Blog Post 13
He gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love. - Psalm 106:41; Psalm 78:38; Psalm 106: 44-45
There is something about the word compassion that stirs strong emotions within me. The origin of that word comes from the Latin root “compati”, meaning “to suffer with”. We worship a God who has not merely created us, but who looks on us with compassion. We worship a God who suffers with us. As a loving father looks on his children with compassion, our God looks on us with compassion. I deeply love God’s compassion and the reflection of His compassion that I see manifested in His people. I love that God calls His church to now proclaim His compassion through evangelism and works of mercy.
There are so many of God’s attributes revealed to us in these verses, and it is easy for me to focus on one of them, and to neglect the others. I may remember often that God is compassionate, and He is. But I need to remember that He is also just. I may think often of His steadfast love. Then I need to remember His wrath. We should be intentional in how we think of God, reminding ourselves daily of who God is in His entirety. God is independent, unchangeable, eternal, omnipresent, united, spirit, invisible, all-knowing, all-wise, completely truthful and faithful, good, loving, merciful, holy, a God of peace, righteous, jealous, omnipotent, beautiful, perfect and glorious. Our God is an awesome God.
The Psalmist tell us that God, being compassionate, atoned for their (and our) iniquity. He did this, literally, by suffering with us. God’s ultimate act of compassion was carried out at Calvary, as He poured out all of His wrath and all of His justice upon His son Jesus Christ, in one dreadful, awesome, glorious and compassionate act for you and for me. We are now “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26). There will never be a greater act of compassion than this. We deserved God’s wrath, and we received His mercy. For our sake “he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” And now, we, as God’s sons and daughters, get to go forth, rejoicing in the fact that we “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We get to live lives as ambassadors for Christ, sharing this good news with our neighbors. We get to “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
Abba, let me meditate daily on Your wonderful attributes, that I may worship You rightly. Let me dwell at the foot of Your cross, being rooted and grounded in the love You have shown for me, in the atoning work of Your son Jesus Christ. Let the compassion that You have shown for Your people so move Your church, that we cannot help but spread the glorious truth of Your gospel, as we “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
“‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed’, says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).