This Verse Perfectly Reflects God’s Love

Posted on March 14, 2018

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By David Ettinger

Old Testament Misconception
When those not familiar with the Bible refer to “the God of the Old Testament,” they often use terms such as “hard,” “uncaring,” “vindictive,” and “vengeful.” It is true that quite a few verses record God’s righteous judgments upon sinful people and nations (Nahum 1:2-3 comes to mind).

sunflowerHowever, the Old Testament contains numerous verses that speak of God’s love (Hosea 14:4); patience (Psalm 86:15); forgiveness (Micah 7:18); and mercy (Psalm 145:9). And here’s one that combines them all: “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).

Not bad for the “vindictive” and “vengeful” God of the Old Testament, huh?

The Background
The mighty Assyrian Empire was on the ascent and the Southern Kingdom of Judah feared certain attack. However, rather than turn to the God who had rescued her time and again, Judah sought an alliance with Egypt, which greatly angered God (vv. 1-5).

Despite the fact that Judah had forsaken God on many occasions, the Lord could not bring Himself to forsake His people. Therefore, like an impassioned Father imploring His beloved child to return to Him, God makes His compassionate, tender, and merciful plea.

The Application for Unbelievers
This great plea, Isaiah 30:18, is worth reading again: “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.”

One of the wonderful aspects of this verse is that it works on several levels. The context is Israel, but most of God’s promises to Israel contain “branches.” In other words, though aimed specifically at Israel, God’s promises often “branch out” to the Church, individual believers, and unbelieving nations and individuals. This verse does all of those.

isaiahTo unbelieving nations, this verse speaks volumes to any that would put away its pride and seek the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The only time we actually see this occur was in Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire, which collectively repented at the prophet Jonah’s preaching (Jonah Chapter 3) and was temporarily spared from destruction. Though no other city or nation we know of ever followed suit, the groundwork was laid for such a nation-wide repentance if the people felt so inclined.

To unbelievers today, God speaks this verse. He is not so angry at unbelievers as to cast them away just yet. This is because God is “gracious” and “longs” to bestow His graciousness on unbelievers. Furthermore, God is compassionate, and He has no interest in hoarding His compassion. Note how God “waits on high” to have compassion. Though waiting is a passive action, in God’s case it is active. In waiting for unbelievers to come to Him, the Lord actively offers compassion and mercy to all.

Whenever people come to know Christ at a later age (whatever you reckon that to be), it is an example of this verse being fulfilled. Perhaps the New Testament counterpart to Isaiah 30:18 is 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Do you know unbelievers who are willing to talk with you about the Lord? If so, show them both of these verses.

What This Means to You
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What about you? Are you not walking with the Lord as you should be? If so, read Isaiah 30:18 and know that God is speaking to you.

Have you at some time strayed from the Lord in a bad way and feel He can never forgive you? If so, read Isaiah 30:18 and know that God is inviting you to return to Him. Know that God is just itching to bestow upon you His grace and compassion!

Do you know another believer who has strayed far from God and can’t seem to find her way back? If so, sit her down and read Isaiah 30:18 to her. She will see that God loves her, wants her back, and holds no grudges.

Be it an unbeliever, a believer you know who has strayed from God, or you, who for some reason believe that God cannot forgive, Isaiah 30:18 is a verse to cherish. Isaiah 30:18 is the guarantee to all people that God is waiting with open arms and a loving invitation to either come to Him in humble submission as a new believer, or return to Him as a believer seeking forgiveness and healing.

He is waiting for you with an abundance of graciousness and compassion; don’t keep Him waiting!

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