Focus: Lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness.
Jeremiah 9:24 (NIV) “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Did you ever stop to think about what really matters to God and what pleases Him? What God is looking for is people who will put all of their trust in Him, alone. Any pride we take in wisdom, strength, or riches is disgusting to God.
When you’re recovering from depression and addiction, it’s normal to feel like a complete failure. Someone in that condition is what is referred to in scripture as ‘broken and contrite’. In Psalm 51:17, David wrote, My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise (NIV).
David knew what he was talking about. In observing David’s life, we see that he had some great moments and some pitiful ones. Yet, David was one who boasted in the Lord. He knew from childhood that God was the source of everything good. David was loved by God and God showed David His lovingkindness in many ways. Over and over in scripture, David gives praise to God for His faithfulness and mercy.
As much as God loved David, and David loved God—David was also judged by the Lord for the sin he committed with Bathsheba. Nathan the Prophet told David what the consequences of his behavior would be, and it all came to pass.
The child that was conceived in adultery by David and Bathsheba died when it was seven days old. As another consequence for David’s sin, Nathan the Prophet foretold that David’s wives would be unfaithful to him by having relations with someone who was close to him in broad daylight.
David’s repentance didn’t change the consequences the prophet had predicted. God had to uphold His standard of righteousness. As much as God loved David, His righteousness called for justice because of David’s sin. God preferred that David would not do what he did—but David chose disobedience. David’s life is a classic example of the way God reacts to our choices. God is good and loving. He would rather we choose righteousness in all things…but like David, sometimes we do—and sometimes we don’t.
People don’t always understand why there should be consequences. They think a loving God shouldn’t allow them to suffer for wrong choices. They also don’t understand that sin is what brings judgment. It is when people ignore or reject the standards of a Holy God, that He is forced to uphold his righteous justice.
It’s not that God is ‘mean’, it’s that He is ‘just’. When people choose to bypass God’s righteousness, they have to be willing to deal with God’s justice.
Many people fall into sin thinking that they can just repent afterwards and God will forgive them and everything will be fine. Think of it this way, living a life according to God’s righteous standards=the right to God’s lovingkindness. Choosing to go against God’s righteous standards=dealing with the results of God’s justice.
The Bible is clear in foretelling the coming judgment of God because of wickedness on the earth. Many people—Christians and non-Christians live today in the pride of their own accomplishments, their wisdom, strength, and riches. James 4:7-10 says, ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.’
Humbling yourself is admitting weakness. Recognizing your own weakness is good in the sight of God. Repentance brings grace and mercy…but consequences are not always eliminated. Knowing these things should cause us to live a life of humility. Our generation has become so casual in respect to the standard of Holiness God desires. Assuming God will always be merciful when we perpetually choose to sin is a type of pride.
Even though Jesus died for the sins of the world, God is still Holy and He desires that people would put all of their confidence in His wisdom, strength, and riches. God is unchanging and His righteousness is eternal. If we say we ‘know Him’, yet ignore His lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, we are fooling ourselves. We can’t boast in His lovingkindness without also boasting about His justice and righteousness.
Declaration: I will find new strength by submitting myself to God. As I resist the devil, he will flee from me. I will wash my hands because I am a sinner and purify my heart from double-mindedness. I will grieve, mourn, and wail. I will change my laughter to mourning and my joy to gloom. I will humble myself before the Lord, and in His mercy, He will lift me up.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book in 2014, by the grace of God. To subscribe to New Strength, select ‘follow’ in the upper left corner of this page.
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