“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
~Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV).
Oh, the unfolding grace of the Lord, God on High. The holding redemptive power of God at many different levels is almost too alluring for us to imagine. Let’s take a sneak peak for I’m sure to underplay it.
Peeling Back the Layers of Grace Then
Imagine for a moment the classic “Creation of Adam” Scene of the Sistine Chapel masterpiece by Michelangelo.
As a snapshot image of the profound grace of God, holding this in our mind’s eye for the time being, we begin to understand the portents of power that the Lord has invested in creation (most often in our ambivalence, noting especially Adam’s limp attitude); in bringing us to life and keeping us that way... even to the point of giving us ninety-nine percent say over the whole magnanimous deal.
Peeling the layers down then, we consider only two aspects of the grace of God: second chances and our creation in the first place.
Second Chances in Life
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”
~Isaiah 63:1c (NIV).
When I begin to comprehend, mostly in a moment’s wonder, the many different levels of the working of the ‘ministry of second chance,’ I’ll gasp in simple amusement—it’s too much for me. I guess I’m beyond being wowed because I know how good God is, but the ever-revealing nature of God’s heart to redeem me and you, in all the messy dealings we get ourselves into, via repentance and life, is quite beyond description—as the song goes—too marvellous for words.
The words of At the Cross chilled me to the core me recently...
Upon our searching, even though we fail him, we know he loves us beyond a love even for our very selves. We cannot actually escape this love over our living lives; sure, if we dictate to God we shall not come, his love is so sincere he grants our demand. What fear speaks this way?—too many millions die into a Christless eternity!
I’m sure God has designed life in such a way that he makes us only capable of enjoying a measure of his grace—apportioned appropriately for the time—such not to overwhelm us with his redemptively consummate kindness.
God is, in these ways, simply good!
The Creation of Humanity in the First Place
“Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake [to prove the righteousness of the divine character], that He might make His mighty power known.”
~Psalm 106:8 (Amplified).
God clearly didn’t need to create us. But he did so in accord with his sovereign and boundless love.
The words of the above single verse—from a wonderful penitential hymn—are evenly spread in accord with the order of God. Note my colour-highlighted fours in the Amplified version above. Each sobbing pause, as we speak this over our lives, we reach for the heavens and give praise, glory and blessing to God. Truly, it’s all we can do.
Not only did God create us, he went to an abyss-of-lengths to redeem us—and today he continues doing just that.
A subject so sizable is always daunting, but not as we stand back and simply admire in awe—this godly masterpiece that is life.
I’ve only captured a teasing glimpse of this aspect of God’s love here. There is more for us than we can truly digest. A wedding banquet he’s laid out; we’re never to be famished again.
There truly is no greater love than that punctuated at the Cross.
As a signpost we look up at it, in the context of our own lives, and we see it’s the quintessential act of a God that’s always saved us and always will.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
 This psalm is perhaps more rightly considered a “lament of the community,” and is certainly considered so by foremost Form Critics. However, when I read the first couple of stanzas (vv. 1-5; 6-12) I can’t get past the historically penitential and redemptive qualities in celebrating the Lord’s praises.