Daily Devotional: Psalms 107:1-9
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty and their lives ebbed away. 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
In the Old Testament we often see the anger of God along with his punishment for those who do not obey him. We see his wrath carried out against both nations and individuals. It would be easy for us to think from these that God does not have compassion for those who are faced with burdens of life. The truth is that God is filled with compassion and lovingkindness. John says that God is love – not just that he does love but as a part of his nature, he is love.
God’s wrath is justified when the people he created do not follow his will. In fact, as God, he must punish sin or he would not really be just in nature. Another factor in his punishment is to show others around the one(s) being punished the consequences of sin so they will not follow along in the sin. In other words, even his punishemnt is an act of compassion and love.
The prophets of old and later even Jesus himself often condemned those who had no compassion for others. God has a special place in his heart for those who are widows, orphans, poor and downtrodden. He does not always relieve their problems (these or others similar to these) but he gives them strength when they trust him. But as his children, he does expect us to show these and others compassion and to do all we can to help them in their distress. James describes pure religion as taking care of widows and orphans. Jesus pictured the judgment scene with the deciding factor being whether we had shown mercy, compassion and assisted those in need, sick, hurting and distressed.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for all you do for me. Thank you for revealing your will to me in your word so I can know how to live for you. Give me a greater desire to study, more wisdom to understand and strength to put it into practice in my life. I thank you for your Spirit who lives in me and helps me with these (and so many other) things. Forgive me when I fail to be all you want me to be. Give help and peace to those who are hurting and distressed and use me to help them as much as possible. I pray in the name of Jesus.