Bible Reading: Psalm 18:1-50
There is something lovely about the very feel of the word “gentle”. In a national survey, women were asked what qualities they would most like in a husband and one of the more frequent answers was gentleness.
Some years ago, I was sitting on a London bus and there was a lady standing up. I stood up and offered her my seat. She got very agitated and angry and demanded, “Are you doing that because I am a woman?” I was actually shocked at my response, as I replied, “No, it is because I am a gentleman!”
God is gentle. In 2 Samuel 24:36 King David says of God, “Your gentleness has made me great.” This verse is repeated in Psalm 18:35. These two verses in a more modern translations use the words “stooped down” and “helped me” instead of gentleness. In the Message Bible Psalm 18:35 reads as, “You protect me with salvation-armour; you hold me up with a firm hand, caress me with your gentle ways”.
The church in Singapore, where I regularly ministered, were amazing in their love to me when I was going through difficult cancer treatment. They loved me, prayed for me, financially supported me and blessed me in so many ways. The senior pastor of the church said to me, “God is pampering you in this difficult time through His people”.
Listen to these beautiful words of Jesus from the Message Bible:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” [Matthew 11:28-30].
Don’t you see in these words the amazing gentleness of God? He is God and yet He stoops down and helps us in our need. In those difficult times He pampers and caresses us. If only we would learn to walk with Him we would discover that He will not lay anything on us that is heavy or ill fitting!
Why do you think that this picture of a caressing and gentle God is so foreign to the thinking of most people?
What do you think David meant when he said that God’s gentleness had made him great?
“The Christian life is not one of being over active, driven and restless but enjoyment, walking with God and letting Him lead us.” What do you make of this statement? How does it apply to your life? What practical steps can you take to live the kind of life that Jesus speaks about in Matthew 28:28-30?
What do you think is the meaning of learning the “unforced rhythms of grace?