No ifs, ands, or buts about it!
" 'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." --Isaiah 1:18.
Well, off topic for this blog post, but it's a little update on my life: Leni, one of my Shih Tzus, found a new loving home today! We praise God no matter how hard it is to say goodbye. :)
Today, like every other day, I am so thankful and amazed by God's love for me and the human population as a whole. I was reading Isaiah 41 and I already knew that one of my favorite verses was coming up: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (v. 10). I love the idea that I don't have to fear about anything and that God will always be with me to lift me up when I stumble, but I never realized the power of that statement in the context of the passage!
" 'Who has stirred up one from the east, calling him in righteousness to his service? He hands nations over to him and subdues kings before him. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before. Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD--with the first of them and with the last--I am he.' The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They approach and come forward; each helps the other and says to his brother, 'Be strong!' The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil. He says of the welding, 'It is good.' He nails down the idol so it will not topple" (Isaiah 41:1-7).What do we see in this passage? Well, respectively, I see the following: war, God's wrath, and the creation of idols. People were so oblivious to the fact that their praise of idols was upsetting God that they nailed the idol to keep it from shaking as God's anger was shaking the earth! Why would God show mercy to these people who worshiped man-made gods?
My Quest Study Bible asked a very similar question, and one part of the authors' response stuck out to me: "His love for them was based on his own redeeming character and was not thwarted by sinful acts of his wayward children." No matter how crazy the Jews were, God's love was not swayed based on their sin. Rather than keeping His anger toward them because of their evil acts, He looked for their good. I know, for me, that is very difficult to think about, not to mention do, in my life. When someone does something bad to me that causes me to get seriously angry at them, it's tough to look past that and love them like Jesus would. Think about Jesus: for crying out loud, He died on a cross because He loved the human population SO MUCH! What did we do to thank Him? We encouraged the act. Through the chaos of the crowd, we yelled, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" We spat in His face, calling Him a liar and a hypocrite. We deserve death, yet when God looks upon our sinful selves, He only sees Christ when we believe because He lives IN US. Just as Romans 4:25 reads, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (emphasis added).
No matter what you do, have done, and will do, God will love you. Always. You do not need to be afraid of losing His love for you.
And, of course, I have to connect everything to song lyrics:
"Tell me what kind of God would choose to save the bruised, the broken, the sinners, the runaways... His kind of love is reckless with us. His kind of love will never give up 'til the whole world knows how far He went to show His kind of love... This is our God, He is strong, and His mercy is our song. He won't stop chasing us. That's just His kind of love" (His Kind of Love; Group 1 Crew).This is the God that we serve! What a privilege.