TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. Loving Characteristics

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Chapter 2  Part II

Loving Characteristics

God’s love is one of the two primary characteristics from which his other personal characteristics emanate, the other primary one being his holiness. Comprehending and persistently being mindful of God’s love and his associated characteristics provides great encouragement for believers.

Love

See also:

God is love – as epitomized in him giving his only Son, to save us

1Jn 4:7-10, 16  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ▤ 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. ▤ 

The phrase “God is love” (vv. 8, 16) implies that God’s nature is fundamentally love, rather than that love is simply a characteristic of God. It is also indicative of God being the sole source of love; love does not exist apart from him. This correlation of God with love is further reflected: by the fact that “love is from God” (v. 7); and in that one who loves “has been born of God and knows God” (v. 7) and “abides in God, and God abides in him” (v. 16).

John 3:16  For God so loved the world,c that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ▤ 

c Or For this is how God loved the world

Rom 5:7-8  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ▤ 

Titus 3:4-5  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

God’s goodness and loving kindness “appeared” (v. 4) in the coming of Jesus Christ, in whom God’s goodness and loving kindness were manifested – in particular by God saving us (v. 5a) through him, and by the Holy Spirit.

Eph 2:4-5  Butd God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved ▤ 

d Or And

Because of his great love for us, God has saved us by grace through Jesus Christ.

Eph 1:4b-5  In love 5he predestined use for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, … ▤ 

e Or before him in love, having predestined us

In essence this speaks of God in his love saving his people by adopting them as his children through Jesus Christ.

  • He is “the God of love”:

2Cor 13:11  Finally, brothers,f rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another,g agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. ▤ 

f Or brothers and sisters

g Or listen to my appeal

God’s love is great

See also:

Ps 103:11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; … ▤ 

Ps 108:4  For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. ▤ 

In addition to 103:11 above, other references to the extent of God’s great love being comparable to the height of the heavens include: “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens…” (36:5a); and “For your steadfast love is great to the heavens…” (57:10a).

Ex 34:6-7a  The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands,h forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin … ▤ 

h Or to the thousandth generation

Ps 145:8  The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. ▤ 

Ps 5:7a  But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. ▤ 

Despite the current threat, David was confident that because of God’s steadfast love he would again be able to go into God’s presence (with the tabernacle probably in view).

Isa 63:7  I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. ▤ 

Jer 32:18a  You show steadfast love to thousands … ▤ 

Ps 33:5  He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. ▤ 

Similarly Psalms 19:64a says: “The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love…” One aspect of the greatness of God’s love is that it is seen all over the world, as evidenced by his care of his creatures and all creation.

Matt 5:44-45  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ▤ 

By loving our enemies (v. 44) we are to be like God, who shows love to all people (v. 45b). This illustrates the magnitude and greatness of God’s love.

1Jn 3:1a  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. ▤ 

The greatness of God’s love is seen in such blessings to his people.

God’s love is steadfast

Ps 17:7  Wondrously showi your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. ▤ 

i Or Distinguish me by

Ps 32:10  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 36:7  How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. ▤ 

Ps 62:11-12a  Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. ▤ 

The opening phrases appear to be a literary technique designed to emphasize that which follows. Their meaning may be that God has spoken of the following and the psalmist has heard of this more than once (cf. NASB, NCV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV).

Ps 63:3  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. ▤ 

Ps 69:16  Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. ▤ 

Isa 55:3  Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. ▤ 

Jer 9:24  … but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord. ▤ 

Mic 7:18b  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. ▤ 

God’s love lasts forever

See also:

Ps 89:2  For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” ▤ 

The reference is to God’s covenant with David, in which God’s steadfast love will be maintained forever (cf. Ps 89:28 ).

Ps 89:28  My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firmj for him. ▤ 

j Or will remain faithful

Ps 103:17-18  But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. ▤ 

Ps 100:5  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ▤ 

Ps 118:1-4, 29  Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 2Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” ▤ 29Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! ▤ 

Lam 3:22  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;k his mercies never come to an end; … ▤ 

k Syriac, Targum; Hebrew Because of the steadfast love of the Lord, we are not cut off

Ps 25:6  Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. ▤ 

God’s steadfast love and mercy have always existed. Moreover, the verse appears to imply that they will always continue.

  • Nothing can separate us from God’s love:

Rom 8:38-39  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Mercy

God is merciful

Ps 116:5b  God is merciful. ▤ 

Deut 4:31  For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. ▤ 

Jer 3:12  Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. ▤ 

Luke 6:36  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. ▤ 

Ps 18:25  With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; … ▤ 

Ps 40:11  As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! ▤ 

Ps 103:4  … who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, … ▤ 

Hos 14:3b  In you the orphan finds mercy. ▤ 

Rom 11:30-32  For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may nowl receive mercy. 32For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. ▤ 

l Some manuscripts omit now

Note that v. 32 is not generally interpreted to mean that God made all people become disobedient, but rather that “God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience” (NLT, cf. CEV). For further comment on these verses see Despite Israel’s current state – which has benefited the Gentiles – Israel will be saved.

2Cor 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, … ▤ 

The description of God as “the Father of mercies” may simply be speaking of him as being very merciful, or more specifically as being the source of all mercy (cf. NLT), in keeping with the subsequent description of him as the God of “all comfort”.

Phil 2:27  Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. ▤ 

God’s mercy is great and never ending

2Sam 24:14  Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” ▤ 

Ps 119:156  Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules. ▤ 

Luke 1:57-58  Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. ▤ 

Elizabeth had been barren (cf. v. 7), hence God had shown her great mercy in enabling her to conceive.

1Pet 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, … ▤ 

Eph 2:4-5  Butm God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— ▤ 

m Or And

Lam 3:22  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;n his mercies never come to an end; … ▤ 

n Syriac, Targum; Hebrew Because of the steadfast love of the Lord, we are not cut off

God’s “mercies” are his acts for his people that are prompted by and manifest his mercy.

Ps 23:6  Surelyo goodness and mercyp shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwellq in the house of the Lord forever.r ▤ 

o Or Only

p Or steadfast love

q Or shall return to dwell

r Hebrew for length of days

Ps 25:6  Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. ▤ 

The last clause indicates that God’s mercy and love have been expressed since time began.

Luke 1:50, 54-55  And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. ▤ 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever. ▤ 

In keeping with v. 50, vv. 54-55 speak of God being merciful to his people forever.

  • God is merciful toward all:

Ps 145:9  The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. ▤ 

Along with being merciful, God is gracious

See also:

Ex 34:6  The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, … ▤ 

Ps 111:4  He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful. ▤ 

Ps 116:5  Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. ▤ 

Isa 30:18  Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. ▤ 

Gen 33:11  Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it. ▤ 

Ps 119:132  Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. ▤ 

Ps 67:1-2  May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. ▤ 

This implies that God’s graciousness to his people brings his blessing and kindness to them (v. 1), making known his ways and saving power to all people (v. 2).

Ex 33:19b  And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. ▤ 

This shows that the expressing of his mercy and graciousness is God’s prerogative. The fact that God chooses whom to be gracious and have mercy on does not mean that he is unfair in not showing such graciousness and mercy to others. His expression of graciousness and mercy is consistent with his righteousness.

God is compassionate

James 5:11  Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. ▤ 

Ex 22:27  … for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate. ▤ 

Ps 103:13-14  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14For he knows our frame;s he remembers that we are dust. ▤ 

s Or knows how we are formed

Ps 135:14  For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. ▤ 

Isa 49:13  Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. ▤ 

Isa 54:7-8  For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. 8In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. ▤ 

Isa 63:7, 9  I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. ▤ 9In all their affliction he was afflicted,t and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. ▤ 

t Or he did not afflict

Verse 9 speaks of both God’s empathy (v. 9a) – which is not unrelated to his compassion – and his “pity” (v. 9b), a term akin to compassion.

Hos 11:8  How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. ▤ 

Luke 15:20  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. ▤ 

In the parable of the prodigal son, the father is identified with God. As such, this illustrates God’s compassion.

Due to his mercy, graciousness and compassion: God is long-suffering; . . .

See also:

Neh 9:17-19, 26-31  They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. 18Even when they had made for themselves a goldenu calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, 19you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. ▤ 26“Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. 27Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. 28But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. 29And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. 30Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. ▤ 

u Hebrew metal

2Ki 13:23  But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now. ▤ 

Because of his graciousness and compassion God was long-suffering regarding his people, unwilling to promptly execute the punishments entailed in his covenant with them, allowing them time to turn back to him (cf. NSB).

2Chr 36:15  The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. ▤ 

Because of his compassion, God warned his people again and again.

Jer 7:24-25  But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. ▤ 

This and the following reference do not specifically mention God’s compassion, mercy or graciousness – or like qualities – but have been included here as further clear examples of God being long-suffering.

Acts 13:18  And for about forty years he put up withv them in the wilderness. ▤ 

v Some manuscripts he carried (compare Deuteronomy 1:31)

. . . and God is forgiving

See also:

Ex 34:6-7  The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands,w forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” ▤ 

w Or to the thousandth generation

Note that v. 7b shows that God’s grace is balanced: he does punish the guilty, the effects of which are borne for a few generations “of those who hate me” (20:5) (cf. ZBC).

Num 14:19-20  Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.” 20Then the Lord said, “I have pardoned, according to your word. ▤ 

Ps 51:1  Have mercy on me,x O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. ▤ 

x Or Be gracious to me

Ps 78:38  Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. ▤ 

Ps 99:8  O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. ▤ 

Ps 103:8-14  The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14For he knows our frame;y he remembers that we are dust. ▤ 

y Or knows how we are formed

God’s removal of our sins is here largely attributed to his compassion (vv. 8, 13-14) and great love (vv. 8, 11-12; cf. Mic 7:18 ), with the latter term also translated as “mercy” (NKJV). Note that v. 14 is is speaking of moral weakness.

Isa 55:7  … let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. ▤ 

Dan 9:9, 18b-19a  To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him ▤ 18… For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. ▤ 

Mic 7:18-19  Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. 19He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all ourz sins into the depths of the sea. ▤ 

z Hebrew their

Jonah 3:10; 4:1-2, 11  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. ▤ 11[God:] And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” ▤ 

a Hebrew it was exceedingly evil to Jonah

Jonah was angry (2:1) that God had decided to spare – effectively forgive – the repentant city of Nineveh from his judgment (3:10). God’s decision reflected the fact that he is “a gracious God and merciful” (2:2) who cares and has “pity” or compassion toward all he has made (2:11; cf. Ps 145:9).

Luke 1:77-79  … to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit usb from on high 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. ▤ 

b Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us

  • A notable expression of God’s grace to his sinful people:

Isa 57:17-18  Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. 18I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, … ▤ 

The contrite amongst God’s wayward people (cf. v. 15) may be primarily in view.

Note: God is patient – allowing people to repent

2Pet 3:9, 15  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,c not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ▤ 15And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, … ▤ 

c Some manuscripts on your account

Here the “Lord” most likely is referring to God, although Jesus Christ may be in view. The “promise” (v. 9) is that of Jesus Christ’s return (cf. v. 4) – and probably also encompasses the other events of the day of the Lord (cf. vv. 7, 10).

Rom 2:4  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ▤ 

Here “forbearance and patience” are associated with God’s kindness, and so appear to be linked with it in leading people to repentance – “He has been very kind and patient, waiting for you to change” (NCV™).

1Pet 3:20  … becaused they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. ▤ 

d Or when

This appears to be referring to God waiting patiently for the wicked of Noah’s day to repent (cf. CEV, NCV, NIrV).

Neh 9:30a  Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. ▤ 

In his patience over many years, God admonished the people through his prophets, exhorting them to repent.

Isa 30:15, 18  For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returninge and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, ▤ 18Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. ▤ 

e Or repentance

God “waits” (v. 18) – indicative of his patience – longing for his people’s repentance (v. 15).

Jer 15:15  O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance take me not away; know that for your sake I bear reproach. ▤ 

The reference may be to God’s “forbearance” or patience with Jeremiah’s enemies rather than to with Jeremiah himself (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV). Note that God’s “forbearance” (cf. Rom 2:4 ) is also referred to in Romans 3:25, for which some translations use “patience” (CEV, GNT, NCV) – “…in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins”.

  • God has great patience:

Rom 9:22  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, … ▤ 

For comment on the phrase “prepared for destruction”, see the comment on Rom 9:10-24 – under Note: God’s mercy and people’s destiny.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Benevolence

See also:

God’s benevolence encompasses his goodness, kindness and generosity – as the following subsections indicate. However, it should be noted that “goodness” and “kindness” are quite general concepts and as such pertain to other character traits as well (cf. introductory comment below on God is good…).

God is good

See also:

When the Bible says that God is good, arguably there are two concepts in view. God is good in that he is: (a) morally upright; and (b) generous and kind towards his people (and all his creatures). The first concept reflects God’s holiness (and so is pertinent to the first half of this chapter). The latter concept is plainly indicative of his benevolence. It is more predominant in the following subsection, while both concepts are apparent in this subsection. The two concepts themselves are by no means unrelated, as God’s upright character produces his generous and kind actions.

Ps 119:68  You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. ▤ 

Ps 25:7-8  Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! 8Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. ▤ 

Ps 34:8  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! ▤ 

Ps 69:16  Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. ▤ 

Ps 73:1  Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. ▤ 

Ps 86:5  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. ▤ 

Ps 100:5  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ▤ 

Ps 107:1  Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! ▤ 

Very similar statements occur some ten times in the OT (cf. Ps 100:5 ) – though not always with the first clause, “Give thanks to the Lord…”.

Ps 27:13  I believef that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! ▤ 

f Other Hebrew manuscripts Oh! Had I not believed

Despite his foes, David is confident he will see the evidence of God’s goodness in his lifetime.

Acts 14:17  Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. ▤ 

Titus 3:4-5  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

God’s goodness and loving kindness was manifested in him saving us through Jesus Christ.

Ex 33:19  And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. ▤ 

Bear in mind that this is not speaking of God’s “goodness” in reference to his benevolence nor simply his uprightness. The Lord’s statement is in response to Moses’ request to be shown his glory. Thus “splendor” (GNT) and “glory” (CEV) have also been used to express the Hebrew rendered here as “goodness”. The phrase “all my goodness” really refers to his divine nature as a whole.

Neh 2:8b  And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. ▤ 

God shows great goodness

See also:

Neh 9:25  And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. ▤ 

Isa 63:7  I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. ▤ 

Ps 31:19  Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! ▤ 

Ps 145:7  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. ▤ 

Ex 18:9  And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. ▤ 

Josh 21:45  Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. ▤ 

Jer 33:9  And this cityg shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. ▤ 

g Hebrew And it

Ezra 8:22  For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” ▤ 

God is good to all (cf. Ps 145:9 ) who seek him.

Ps 145:9  The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. ▤ 

Ps 23:6  Surelyh goodness and mercyi shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwellj in the house of the Lord forever.k ▤ 

h Or Only

i Or steadfast love

j Or shall return to dwell

k Hebrew for length of days

David speaks of God’s goodness and love (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV, NLT) being with him all his life (cf. Jer 32:40 ).

Jer 32:40-41  I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. ▤ 

  • Only God is truly good:

Mark 10:18b  No one is good except God alone. ▤ 

Here “good” refers to perfection, including being sinless.

God exercises kindness

2Sam 9:3a  And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” ▤ 

Ps 145:13  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]l ▤ 

l These two lines are supplied by one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac (compare Dead Sea Scroll)

Hos 11:4  I led them with cords of kindness,m with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. ▤ 

m Or humaneness; Hebrew man

Luke 6:35  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. ▤ 

Rom 2:4  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ▤ 

The expression “the riches of his kindness” highlights that God shows “great kindness” (GNT, NIrV).

Rom 11:22  Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. ▤ 

Eph 2:6-7  … and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

Titus 3:4-5  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, … ▤ 

Ruth 2:19-20  And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” ▤ 

In v. 20, “the dead” refers to either Ruth’s dead husband (NLT) or Naomi’s – or both. Redeemers (v. 20) – “family redeemers” (NLT) – had a responsibility to care for any needy amongst their extended family. Coming into contact with one gave real hope of provision for Ruth and Naomi, a sign that God had not stopped showing his kindness to them and so also in a sense to their dead husbands. Additionally, Naomi could also have had in mind that the redeemer could preserve the name of the dead father and son by marrying Ruth.

God is generous

James 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ▤ 

The phrase “without reproach” may be implying that God “won’t correct you for asking” (CEV) or possibly that God will not use any fault in a person as a reason or excuse not to give them what they have asked. In any case, the verse points to the fact that God gives “ungrudgingly” (AMP, NRSV; cf. NLT).

Matt 20:8-15  And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’n ▤ 

n Or is your eye bad because I am good?

God is generous and has the right to exercise his generosity however he sees fit, irrespective of whether there is a correlation with human evaluation. The workers who had worked the longest were not unfairly treated, being paid the agreed amount (cf. v. 2); the owner of the vineyard (representative of God) had simply shown great generosity towards those who had worked less hours.

Rom 8:32  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ▤ 

Given the context, this may well have our salvation primarily in view; i.e. if God gave up his son to save us – the greatest possible gift – surely he will give us everything else needed to secure our salvation. However “all things” may also encompass our inheritance that believers will receive on entry into God’s kingdom. Regardless, the verse illustrates God’s superlative generosity – as do the following passages.

Eph 1:7-8  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight … ▤ 

Titus 3:5-6  … he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, … ▤ 

2Pet 1:3  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us too his own glory and excellence,p … ▤ 

o Or by

p Or virtue

God gives good gifts . . .

See also:

Matt 7:11  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! ▤ 

Ps 85:12  Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. ▤ 

Deut 8:7-10  For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. ▤ 

Likewise 1:25b says, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.”

Deut 26:11  And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. ▤ 

Josh 23:14  And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good thingsq that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. ▤ 

q Or words; also twice in verse 15

Not dissimilarly, 2 Peter 1:4 speaks of God having “given us his very great and precious promises”.

2Sam 7:28  And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. ▤ 

Neh 9:20  You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. ▤ 

Ps 103:5  … who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ▤ 

Ps 107:9  For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. ▤ 

2Cor 9:15  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! ▤ 

The “indescribable gift” refers to his gift of his own Son.

Heb 9:11  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,r then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) … ▤ 

r Some manuscripts good things to come

The “good things that have come” appear to be the good blessings that God has already given to his people, which have come to fruition through Jesus Christ.

. . . God is the ultimate source of all gifts

See also:

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.s ▤ 

s Some manuscripts variation due to a shadow of turning

John 3:27  John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. ▤ 

Acts 17:25  … nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. ▤ 

Rom 11:35-36  “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

Note that v. 36 is not just referring to gifts God has given, but to everything God has created, including people themselves.

1Cor 4:7  For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? ▤ 

We only have what God has given us. God is the ultimate source of all that we have, including our abilities and assets.

1Pet 5:10  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ▤ 

The ascription of God has “the God of all grace” speaks of him as the one who “imparts all blessing and favor” (AMP).

Eccl 2:24-25  There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoymentt in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25for apart from himu who can eat or who can have enjoyment? ▤ 

t Or and make his soul see good

u Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts apart from me

The fundamental, essential things of life are gifts from God (cf. Eccl 3:13 ).

Eccl 3:13  … also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. ▤ 

Eccl 5:19  Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. ▤ 

Deut 8:17-18  Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. ▤ 

God was the ultimate source of the wealth that the people would produce, as it was he who gave them the ability to produce it.

Hos 14:8b  It is I who answer and look after you.v I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. ▤ 

v Hebrew him

As with Deuteronomy 8:17-18 above, God is portrayed as the ultimate source of Israel’s prosperity and blessings.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jealousy

The Hebrew and Greek words translated as “jealousy” convey a very forceful passion. When used of God, “jealousy” is spoken of in a positive light, as a virtuous attribute aligned with his profound commitment to and love for his people. God’s jealousy in regard to his people is comparable to that of a husband or wife. Their jealousy is a product of their intense love for each other and evoked by anything that poses a threat to their relationship. As such God’s jealousy is expressed in action against whatever threatens his people or his relationship with them. Thus it is expressed both against hostile forces – bringing salvation to his people – and in punishing any unfaithfulness of his people, leading them back to him.

God is a jealous God

Ex 34:14  … (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), … ▤ 

The description of God as one whose “name is Jealous” emphasizes that jealousy is an innate part of his character. This is enforced by the subsequent reference to God being a “jealous God”.

Deut 4:24  For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. ▤ 

God’s jealousy is sometimes compared to fire devouring or destroying that which has aroused it.

Josh 24:19  But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. ▤ 

Far from it being an ungodly attribute, here God’s jealousy is mentioned alongside his holiness. Having these attributes, God will not tolerate rebellion and persistence in sin.

God’s jealousy arises in response to his people’s sin

See also:

1Ki 14:22  And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. ▤ 

Ps 79:5, 9  How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? ▤ 9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! ▤ 

As is implied by v. 9, the people’s sin was the reason for God’s jealousy and anger (v. 5).

Ezek 23:25-27  And I will direct my jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in fury. They shall cut off your nose and your ears, and your survivors shall fall by the sword. They shall seize your sons and your daughters, and your survivors shall be devoured by fire. 26They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewels. 27Thus I will put an end to your lewdness and your whoring begun in the land of Egypt, so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore. ▤ 

Zeph 1:17-18  I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 18Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. ▤ 

Prior to the last sentence, the sin of God’s people and his judgment on them is the subject. Some commentators see the inclusion of the “all the earth” (v. 18) – in being punished along with Israel – to be a result of its detrimental influence on Israel and her relationship with God. The same could possibly apply to the following passage, also from Zephaniah, where again Judah’s sin is spoken of prior to reference to punishment of the “all the earth”. Note that with such references to “all the earth”, these passages may well have a more literal future fulfillment or application.

Zeph 3:7b-8  But all the more they were eager to make all their deeds corrupt. 8“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. ▤ 

God’s jealousy arises particularly in response to unfaithfulness

See also:

Ex 20:4-6  You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousandsw of those who love me and keep my commandments. ▤ 

w Or to the thousandth generation

Verses 5b, 6 show two results of God’s deep jealousy for his people (v. 5a): punishment for those who hate and reject him; and lasting love for those who love and follow him.

Deut 6:14-15  You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. ▤ 

Deut 32:16, 20-21  They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. ▤ 20And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. 21They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. ▤ 

Ps 78:58  For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols. ▤ 

Ezek 8:3  He put out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. ▤ 

God’s jealousy is provoked by his people’s devotion to any idol, but this one is especially noted – perhaps because it was actually in the temple. It was apparently an idol of Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility.

Ezek 16:38  And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. ▤ 

Israel had committed spiritual adultery against God (cf. vv. 15-37) and in doing so had shed the blood of children in sacrifices to idols (cf. vv. 20-21), thus incurring God’s “wrath and jealousy”.

  • God jealously longs for our devotion:

James 4:5  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? ▤ 

There are different interpretations of this verse, but it may well be meaning that God jealously longs for our devotion (cf. NCV, NLT).

God is jealous for his people and their well-being . . .

See also:

Ezek 36:6-7  Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations. 7Therefore thus says the Lord God: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach. ▤ 

In his jealousy for Israel’s well-being, God would crush their enemies (v. 7), so that Israel would no longer bear the scornful disdain of the nations (v. 6b). Probably oppression by the other nations is also view.

Joel 2:18-19  Then the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. 19The Lord answered and said to his people, “Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. ▤ 

This suggests that God’s jealousy for his land (v. 18) extended to his people and their well-being.

Nah 1:2  The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. ▤ 

Here the cause of God’s jealousy (for his people) and wrath appears to be attacks on his people by Assyria, on whom he determined to take vengeance.

Zec 1:14-17  So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. 15And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster. 16Therefore, thus says the Lord, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the Lord of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’ ▤ 

This and the following passage speak of God’s jealousy for his people’s well-being partly being expressed in God’s renewal of: Israel (vv. 16-17; Zec 8:4-5 ); and his relationship with his people (Zec 8:3 ).

Zec 8:2-5  Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. 4Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. ▤ 

God’s jealousy for Jerusalem (v. 2) has in view her restoration (vv. 3-5; cf. GNT) and expressing wrath towards her enemies (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT).

. . . and God is zealous in working for his people’s cause

In both ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek, the word that is translated as “jealousy” is also the one which is translated as “zeal” – depending on the context; hence God’s jealousy and his zeal are related. God’s zeal in the cause of his people – the subject of this subsection – is also reflected in the verses in the preceding subsection which speak of his jealousy for them, and is shown by Isaiah 42:13, Ezekiel 36:5, 38:18-19, 22 in the following subsection.

2Ki 19:30-31  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord will do this. ▤ 

Note that these verses are repeated verbatim in Isaiah 37:31-32.

Isa 9:7  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ▤ 

God’s zeal would ensure the introduction of the Messiah’s reign, with the associated blessings for his people.

Isa 26:11  O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them. ▤ 

The expression “your zeal for your people” speaks of God’s eagerness to defend his people (cf. NLT).

Isa 63:15  Look down from heaven and see, from your holy and beautifulx habitation. Where are your zeal and your might? The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion are held back from me. ▤ 

x Or holy and glorious

Isaiah knows of God’s zeal for his people (and his might) – presumably from what he has done for them in the past and by what he has promised. So in this time of great trial for God’s people, Isaiah appeals to God to show this zeal (cf. Isa 26:11 ) and his might in working for his people’s cause.

  • God is always at his work:

John 5:17  But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” ▤ 

This verse suggests that God is zealous in all his work, being always at his work (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT). The following subsection further illustrates God’s zeal in aspects of his work.

Note: In his jealousy and zeal God punishes his enemies and the ungodly

Ezek 36:5  … therefore thus says the Lord God: Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pasturelands a prey. ▤ 

In his burning jealousy God pronounced prophecies of punishment against the nations who had plundered Israel.

Ezek 38:18-19, 22  But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. 19For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. ▤ 22With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. ▤ 

The earthquake (v. 19) may primarily signify God’s presence, with him poised to destroy the invaders; or it may be one he uses to nullify their attack and begin their destruction.

Deut 29:20  The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. ▤ 

Ezek 5:13  Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. ▤ 

Num 25:11  Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. ▤ 

Israel had faced annihilation by God in his jealousy (cf. vv. 1-9). However, in contrast to the cases in the previous verses, God’s wrath was appeased so that he did not consume the people in his jealousy. This was largely due to Phinehas sharing God’s jealously, and in this jealousy executing one of the main provocateurs (cf. vv. 6-8).

Isa 42:13  The Lord goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. ▤ 

Isa 59:17-18  He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. ▤ 

  • God is also jealous for his name:

Ezek 39:25  Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. ▤ 

God is jealous for his holy name, that it not be dishonored or despised. Similarly Numbers 25:11 above refers to God being jealous for his honor.

Pray for persecuted Christians