In my journey with my Lord over the last months, I have prayed a Psalm a day. Have you ever done that? If you have not, I would highly recommend it. Let the words of David be your prayer. As God brings a situation to your mind as you pray through the Psalm, pray about that situation. Many, many times I have started to pray the Psalm for that day and been in tears crying out to the Lord, “This is the Psalm I needed today.”
As I have done this exercise of praying through the Psalms, I began to be aware of 2 repeating words “steadfast love.” It is used 127 times in the book of Psalms. Jonah in the midst of his bitter tirade to God says, “That is why I made to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” (Jonah 4:2). Jonah was angry at God for His grace, His mercy, His slowness to anger, His steadfast love, and His relenting from disaster. God wanted to bestow these things on a country that did not deserve it and Jonah told God so. In other words Jonah was telling God, be nice to me but you should not be nice to these people; they do not deserve it. This reminds me of the brother of the prodigal son. He was angry at his father for being nice to his prodigal brother, because he as the older brother “had served his father for many years and never disobeyed his command.” (Luke 15:29). Rather than rejoicing over the return of his prodigal brother, he in bitterness said, “What about me?”
I am going to be honest, I have struggled often with the older brother complex. Yet, God in His patience with me has walked me through the Psalms and confronted me of my sin and poured His steadfast love into me. It is such a slow process as I have to be willing to give up the sins I cling to. They are comfortable and they protect me. The sin of praying, “my will be done.” Have you done that? The sin of selfishness. The sin of insecurity. As God sits with me each morning, we make new discoveries together. He heals the brokenness in my heart. He helps me to see the wrong thinking I believe. So often I pray and release these sins and feel a cleansing, but they are so comfortable I take them back and God patiently asks me for them again. All He wants to give to me is His steadfast love. David in his prayers kept going back to God’s steadfast love. David poured out His heart before God, and God poured out His steadfast love. David is said to be “a man after God’s own heart.” How can this be since he committed some pretty despicable sins? Acts 13:22 answers this question. “…He raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” When David is confronted by Nathan with his sin, he does not make any excuses, rather he says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (II Samuel 12:13). Recorded for us in Psalm 51 is David’s prayer to the Lord regarding these grievous sins. He starts his prayer to God with a plea for God’s steadfast love. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love…” (Psalm 51:1). When confronted with his sin, David bows before the Lord knowing he sinned against the Lord, and then appealed to God’s steadfast love knowing how vast it is.
When I read these verses in Jonah, I am overwhelmed with what Jonah said about God’s steadfast love. Do you see it? It is abounding. God doesn’t have just enough, He has an overflowing never ending supply. God has enough love for every person in the world, and not just enough for each person but an overflowing, abounding amount of steadfast love. Love that does not change based on what we do.
Maybe as you read this, you are feeling down over the situations in your life. Maybe you feel rejected or unloved. Maybe someone is receiving God’s love, grace, and mercy that does not deserve it. Remember, God’s steadfast love is not just abounding and overflowing it is also steadfast. It doesn’t change nor does it move. It is a faithful love for us. No matter what we do, God loves us. Those who have not accepted Him as their Lord and Savior can even see God’s love for them, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). We do not deserve this love, but God so generously wants to give it to us and to those who we feel do not deserve it. May God’s steadfast love surround you today!