by Brian Bettes
Several of my recent blog posts have dealt with rather heavy material that focused more on looking deeply into ourselves to find areas we can do better, change, and repent. That is all well and good, and it is vital that we look at those things. However, it is also important to take time to appreciate God from the perspective of who He is, what He does for us, and how He cares for us.
I am pretty sure we all have certain parts of scripture we like to go to and read more often than others. We all have either a favorite scripture, or maybe several that are chain referenced together, that represent a specific part of God’s character or His truth that bring us comfort and inspiration when we need it. These verses tend give us the feeling of our Father wrapping a warm blanket around us while holding us close in the cold, harsh world we live in.
One of the things I appreciate most about God is His faithfulness in being merciful to us. Among my many favorite “go-to” scriptures are these verses in Psalm 103 where He states that He, “…crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies…” (Psalm 103:4). He continues to reassure us of His faithfulness in working with us in verses 8 through 14 with these comforting statements:
The Lord is merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:8-14).
I particularly appreciate that last part where He talks about knowing how fragile we are and treats us accordingly. God promises not to put more on us than we can bear, but will give us a way out of our trials. He promises to end the trials before we are crushed (1Corinthians 10:13).
When God showed Himself to Moses and proclaimed His name, this is what He said about Himself, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:6-7). In Lamentations we are reminded that it is through His mercies that we are not consumed and His compassions for us do not fail. It says His compassions are renewed every single morning thanks to His great and wonderful faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Again, I find it very comforting and encouraging knowing that, no matter how bad yesterday may have been, today is a new day in His eyes and we get a clean slate to work with.
Though there are many places I have cultivated as “go-to” scriptures over the years depending on the inspiration I need, one such set of verses in Isaiah chapters 40-46 have particular significance to me.
We are strengthened and encouraged by His proclamation that, “Before me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:10-11). God takes an absolute and positive stand against the concept that there is any other god anywhere except for Him. He says, “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images” (Isaiah 42:8).
Also He says:
To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare Him…Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth…Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in...To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing (Isaiah 40:18, 21-22, 25-26).
Wow! How incredible is that?! God does not waiver or shrink away from who He is. Indeed there is no other like Him! That is so encouraging and powerful to me.
He also says He has a plan that will be fulfilled and proclaims what it will be. He says in a very straight forward manner that He proclaims the end of things from the beginning and takes on all challengers who might think they have the same power (Isaiah 46:10, 42:9, 43:18-19).
Finally, Isaiah 40:10-11, 43:1-7 reminds me that the same one and only God will stand up for His people. He will love them with gentleness and kindness, even though there has been correction for their sins. It is personal with God (Isaiah 43:14-15).
As we move forward in our daily walk, let us take the time to thank the One and only Great God we serve for being Him. Please share some of your favorite encouraging scriptures in the comments section below.