Friday, December 13, 2013

Lessons From the Desert: God is Gracious and Merciful

This month at Pasture Living, I'm sharing what I learned during my Israel trip and why I think this series is very relevant to healthy living. I believe being physically healthy is important, but being mentally, psychologically, and spiritually healthy is also extremely important for a fulfilling and joyful life. If you missed any of this series, click here.

Advent Day 13

God is Gracious and Merciful

Remnants of a high place in Arad

Passage Reading: Psalm 103:8-12

We visited the ruins of an Israelite high place in Arad. We know from the Bible how God has specific instructions on how to build a temple and where to build it (Jerusalem). But here we saw the ruins of a high place in Arad. Why was it here? Why did they build God's temple in a place where it should not be? As human beings, we don't always do things the right way. Sometimes we even do things knowing it's wrong and not according to God’s will. King David, a person whom God loved dearly and known as "a man after God's own heart," also had weaknesses. Solomon in all its glory didn't always have it all together. Moses, the leader of brought the Israelites out of Egypt, also wasn't perfect. The Israelites, God's chosen people, also did not always have an easy life. In fact, they kept going back to old sinful ways even though they experienced firsthand God's protection and providence when He rescued them out of Egypt. But God is patient, faithful, gracious and merciful. He's been that way before they even knew Him. When they cried out to a God whose name they didn't even know, God heard them. 

We are all work-in-progress. We will never get it all together and we will never be perfect, but He continues to shape, refine, and mold us to the people He wants us to be. He is with us even when we get it wrong and God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are. And so remember this when God (or our parents) discipline us – it's not because they want to punish us, it’s because they love us too much to leave us in our "crack."

"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." - Psalm 103:8-12

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