8 Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.” (2 Chronicles 30:8-9 ESV)
God is so often misunderstood and misrepresented.
Some want to throw out the Old Testament seeing only His judgment and sternness. Others misunderstand the need for the cross. And, yet others put God in a box based on the flaws they see in Christians around them.
What we often fail to understand is just how much God hates sin.
He hates that it has ripped apart our relationship with Him,
that it deceives into thinking we don’t need Him,
that it ruins relationships and trust,
that it clouds over love,
that it destroyed His perfect world,
that it kills and brings shame,
that it leads to a life in an eternal hell.
He sees it for what it is, and He will not tolerate it unaddressed in His children.
20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered. (2 Chronicles 31:20-21 ESV)
But, when we want the same thing He wants. When we crave Him. When we seek love. When we repent and turn to Him, He comes running. He wants to bless us, to see us prosper (not necessarily measured in material wealth), to teach us to walk in the unity of love with Him and other believers.
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)
Love is what should set us apart from the world. And, the only way we can possess and reflect true love is to be in Christ.
We have the purest example of how to love. Now, I just need to step out and do it.
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
Father God, You are loving and compassionate. Help me show those same attributes consistently to those around me that You may be glorified. With my whole heart. Yielding to you, just as Hezekiah determined to do. May Your loving, merciful image flow through me as freely as I breathe. In Jesus Name, Amen