But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
Let those of us who may think we are great see the truth of ourselves. May those of us who think we are worthy come to the realization that we are “but flesh” and see all that that entails—a weakness, a helplessness, a sinfulness, and a position far below Almighty God. We are a wind that passes and is gone—that fragile, that unimportant. Our lives are quick blinks in the grand scheme of things, so how do we lift ourselves up with self-importance and thoughts of our own position and rank?
Many times God turned His wrath from His wayward children, the Israelites, as they journeyed from Egypt to captivity. Many times our merciful God turns His wrath from us, who deserve to be destroyed, not praised, preserved, or exalted. How many times we sin against Him. How many times we rebel. How many times we are stubborn and disobedient. How many times we are weak and fail Him. But God knows that we are mere men, and He knows us individually and what our specific weaknesses are. He knows our nature as fallen, sinful people, and He knows our hearts and whether our hearts are toward Him or not.
What a blessing that our God is full of compassion. What a joy that He would treat us with any compassion when we so often treat Him with contempt. When our hearts of rebellion meet His compassion, we can only fall broken before Him. And what a precious experience it is to be broken before the Lord, for it is in that position that we can see who we really are before a holy God who loves us beyond measure. Then our mind-set can turn, and we exalt God instead of ourselves. We lift Him high and seek His praise instead of our own.
All it takes to be transformed by God is a realization of the truth of God’s character and the truth of what we really are. When we can admit that God is right and we are wrong, we can begin a journey down a new path toward righteous living that pleases God and honors Him. When we can see how small we are and how big God is, our faith can grow. When we look past our own ability, our own strength, our own ideas and embrace what God has shown to us, that new vision can make us useful, fruitful Christians in God’s work.