Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Heart of Christmas: God's Great Compassion


God's people were defiant in their sin. "Stop confronting us..." they told the prophets. (Isaiah 30:11 niv) The people refused every attempt to bring them back to the Lord. 

They were a lot like us. They wanted what they wanted, and they were determined to have it. They didn't really care what God wanted for them.

Our Lord was patient, but there was a limit to His patience. Their sin would have a price that would be hard to bear. What Isaiah described was terrible, but his words were cushioned by some of the most beautiful imagery imaginable.

"Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him." (Isaiah 30:18 nasb)

Another translation reads, "He rises to show you compassion." (niv)

Ponder this for a moment: God is on His throne, leaning forward to watch how His people respond to His words, waiting for the time when He can show His great compassion again. Hands on the arms of his throne, He pushes Himself up from the throne with the intention of demonstrating His great love for us.

All that's required is for us to long (or wait) for Him. To turn our hearts fully toward Him.

This waiting, turning, will be accompanied by such blessings as we can't even imagine. 

He will dry our tears and we will weep no more.
God will hear our cries and answer us.
We will see God.
God Himself will be our Teacher.
He will give us clear direction.
We will willingly destroy our idols and embrace obedience. 
(Isaiah 3:19-22)

Even more blessings come with obedience: Provision. Preservation. Peace. Purpose.

Our God longs to radically change our lives for the better, IF we'll allow it.

When His people failed so miserably at obedience, He allowed His plan to proceed, the one He'd made in the garden. 

The plan was Jesus. 

The lover of our soul wrapped Himself in frail flesh and came to redeem us, to restore us, to have relationship with us, to show how much He loves us.

What He offers is worth having. 

It's better than anything we can devise for ourselves. He's already done the hard part. Our job is to turn to Him. Follow. Obey.

Christmas isn't just about the babe in the manger. It's about the Soul-Loving Savior who set us free.

Such a gift demands a response. More than a thank you is required. Nothing short of total surrender will do.

Our enemy would have us believe it's too hard, that surrender would somehow limit us, stifle us, harm us. The author of lies would deceive us so that we would miss the great love demonstrated to us.

Today, let's close our ears to the lies of the world and open our hearts to the One who loves us most. Wait for Him. Long for Him. Surrender to Him.

Rejoice in the nativity but embrace the cross.
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If you'd like to read more about waiting on God, you might enjoy The Waiting: When the Answer to Your Prayers is Delayed and Your Hope is Gone. It's available from the online store for $10, and the price DOES include tax, shipping and handling. (continental US only)

If God leads you to help support this ministry, (prayer and outreach, both digital and in-person) you can use this link: Support Leanna's Ministry (use account #4841)

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Heart of Christmas: The Costly Cornerstone 
#Jesus #advent #christmas