Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness.
@ Romans 11:22 (NIV)
Busy, Busy, Busy! As we come to the close of another calendar year that old chestnut reemerges; “Boy, that year went fast.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard some say that the year went slow.
One of, if not the, greatest challenges facing the follower of Jesus today is the discipline of stopping. What ever has our attention will secure our devotion.
The word Paul begins with here reflects a word that David so often used in the Psalms to meditate. It’s that intentional stopping to perceive, reflect and consider who God is and realign oneself in a personal and tangible way to the great Creator of the Universe.
Paul’s invitation here, in light of Israel’s rejection of Jesus, is to consider the kindness and sternness of God. Let’s quickly look at the later and move onto the former. The word sternness here is used only here in the entire Bible. Whilst it may seem to conflict with the idea of a loving and kind God, the word represents the hardest kind of love…the kind of love that accepts another’s choice to say no to relationship.
I remember holding both of my girls when they were born and speaking the same thing over them both; “I pray that you will love me as much as I love you.” On both of those occasions I heard the gentle voice of the Father speak to me and say, “That’s my desire too.”
The heart of God has always beat with the desire for intimate relationship. At another time in Israel’s history went they said no to His kindness, God pours His heart out to Jeremiah saying; “I thought they’d call me Father.” @ Jeremiah 3:19.
For the rest of time, the cross of Jesus stands as the physical witness of the Father’s level of desire for this kind of relationship. His kindness forever demonstrated and extended towards us through the work of Jesus and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.
The choice rests in your hands. Will you today call Him Father?? Will you today stop and consider the depth of loving kindness in His heart and respond with a resounding YES??
This is what it means to continue in His kindness.
Father, You are the same yesterday today and forever. Your loving kindness is constantly extended towards us welcoming us to know you in a deeper and more intimate way. Help us to stop and choose You again. As we choose to give You our attention and consider who You are, would You overwhelm us again with the kind of embrace only You can give? Empower us to remain in that place, live from that place and find our joy in that place with You.
Have an amazing rest of the week partnering with God as His Kingdom breaks through in your life and the in the people around you.
“In His Grip”