"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

God's Great and Undeserved Love

I've been following a "read through the Bible in a year" plan, and I recently read several psalms in a row.  This is rather rare, as I usually read one at a time or maybe two at a time.  I'm so glad I did, though.  The first one I read was Psalm 104.  This psalm describes God's creation of the world and His care for man and the creatures in the world.  The next psalm describes what God has done on behalf of Israel - how He remembered His covenant with them, rescued them from Egypt and provided for them during their journey to the Promised Land.  Now, I didn't study the psalms long, but just read through them thoughtfully.  But God's love and kindness and care for His people is very clear.  This makes the contrast of the next psalm so much greater, as it talks about Israel's rebellion against God.  Despite His provision and His protection of the Israelites, they grumbled and complained, they worshiped other gods, joined with other nations (thus learning their evil practices and directly disobeying God's instructions).  After all that God had done for them, this was their response.  (I can't help but think how often this is our response as well.  God protects us from one thing, we complain about something we don't have; God graciously provides for that desire, and we flippantly thank Him and continue on our way...as if we deserve it from Him.  And not only that, but we then deliberately disobey Him!)  After reading through these three psalms, I come to the last verses of Psalm 106 (verses 40-46):

Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people [very just and very understandable...I don't think any one of us would have put up with it for that long!] and He abhorred His inheritance.  Then He gave them into the hand of the nations and those who hated them ruled over them.  Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were subdued under their power.  Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity.

Nevertheless He looked upon their distress when He heard their cry; and He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.  He also make them objects of compassion in the presence of all their captors."

What a great and awesome God...He shows compassion and love even when we are in direct rebellion against Him!  What amazing grace and love!  How can we ever thank Him?