Read:  2 Kings 13:1-25

But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.  2 Kings 13:23

Often, we are astounded by the Israelites lack of steadfastness in their worship of the One true God. Generation after generation, king after king, there seems to be a continual cycle of wandering and then coming back to the Lord – over and over again. And it never ceases to amaze us that the Lord would forgive them, take them back, and bless them time after time.

But if we didn’t have this cycle to look at, I think we would miss out on something that God obviously wants us to get. He makes it so clear. He wants us to know this about Him. He will not let us miss this. He leaves no doubt.

He forgives us. And He loves us.

Even before He sent His Son to rescue us, He had a plan. The Israelites, His own people, rejected Him over and over again – He allowed it to happen. He punished it, certainly – but without that cycle would we really understand just how much God desires for us to be in a right relationship with Him?

I’ll tell you – actually my kids could tell you – I’m just not that gracious and compassionate. But God shows us in this cycle of sin/repentance/forgiveness that He IS – going so far as to send His only Son to rescue us and bring us back to Him.

Listen to how the Matthew Henry commentary puts it:

See how swift God is to show mercy, how ready to hear prayers, how willing to find out a reason to be gracious, else he would not look so far back as that ancient covenant which Israel had so often broken and forfeited all the benefit of. Let this invite and engage us for ever to him, and encourage even those that have forsaken him to return and repent; for there is forgiveness with him, that he may be feared.

Wow. Swift to show mercy. Looking for a reason to be gracious. Willing to look back to a promise He made generations ago. All so He can have a relationship with us, His kids.

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of our Savior. The One who redeems us. The culmination of God’s mercy and love. As we take our first steps into 2016 let us go forth in the deep-down knowledge and understanding of just how much He loves us.

And may we wear that love for all the world to see!

Almighty God, words can never express my gratitude for your love. Time and again you have looked for reasons to be gracious to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I worship you, alone. In the powerful and holy name of Jesus, I pray. Amen

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