George Everard, 1885
"How excellent is Your loving-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 36:7
Look away to the heavens, and you learn the height of God's mercy. Look away to the clouds rolling on far over your head, and you see how His faithfulness exceeds all your thoughts. Look at the glorious mountains, and you have a picture of His firm and steadfast righteousness. Look at yon yawning precipice, and you may gain a view of the mystery of His judgments. (See verse 5, 6.)
But look again and see in God's loving-kindness, the head and crown of all His attributes. It is this which here and elsewhere causes the Psalmist to burst forth in adoration and praise: "How excellent is Your loving-kindness, O God!"
It is in the story of redemption we see the loving-kindness of our God in its brightest colors.
"By the light of nature, we see God above us.
By the light of the Law, we see God against us.
By the light of the Gospel, we see God for us."
Behold the infant Savior lying in no soft cradle, but in a feeding trough in Bethlehem's stable — and you see One who came to bring the light of life to Adam's race. You see in Him, One who can take the bitterest ingredients out of life's burdens and griefs, and over all remaining ills can shed a ray of brightest hope. And what but the loving-kindness of our God could give to us One who could thus be our everlasting consolation?
Behold Him in His later days surrounded by multitudes of the sick and suffering. See blind and dumb, and palsied and lame, flocking around Him, while his heart went forth to them in tenderest pity. See His healing touch bringing sight or hearing, speech, strength, or healing, according to the need of each one.
And was there not in all this a manifestation of a Father's loving-kindness? For Christ was the image of the Invisible God, the revealer of the Father, and all that He thus did on earth, tells us plainly of the tender compassion and love of Him who dwells above. It shows us how the Father pities and cares for every redeemed one in pain and affliction and distress of any kind. It shows how we may bring to His mercy-seat every infirmity that affects the body, and every spiritual malady that troubles the soul.
Behold the Lord Jesus again in the day of His humiliation and agony. You see One on a cross, despised and rejected, bruised and wounded, deserted by friends and mocked by enemies — yes, for the moment forsaken both by God and man. And what was the ultimate cause of it all, but the loving-kindness of our God? It was tender love and nothing else.
It was love in the Father, to give His Son.
It was love in Christ, to give Himself.
In love He bought His bride the Church, and for her life He laid down His own. In love, He paid the whole debt that His people owed to the justice of God. In love, He opened up a new and living way to the Father, and by death destroyed the power of death and trod down the power of man's worst enemy, the devil.
O the loving-kindness that shone forth so brightly in every moment of agony, in every word He spoke in that dark hour, and in every prayer He breathed into the Father's ear! And no less in the manifold fruits of redemption. What unspeakable loving-kindness . . .
in the free and full blotting out of all sin,
in the gift of the Comforter,
in the peace which the world gives not,
in the joys of adoption as God's beloved children, and
in the imperishable mansion and unfading inheritance!
But what is your value of this marvelous loving-kindness? Can you say with David, "Your loving-kindness is better than life!" For be assured nothing will make up for the loss of it — and nothing can take its place. You may try to satisfy yourself with something else. You may be content to take your fill of what the world can give you. But sooner or later it will all fail.
What would this world be without the sun? What will your soul do without the sunshine of God's love? At the best, all else is but as moonlight — it never brings the warmth and joyous gladness of God's loving-kindness. You cannot do without it. This alone can cheer and sustain your heart amidst the trials of your pilgrimage. This alone can be your support when every earthly tie is broken. This alone can give light to the dying eye, and assure you of a home beyond the grave. Therefore fly to the shelter of God's covering wings. "O taste and see that the Lord is good." "Blessed is the man who trusts in Him."