19 ‘Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.NIV

God’s love is not dependent on our goodness.

It must have been a number of years ago now, but I remember exactly where I was when this liberating thought struck me. I was coming onto the Armley gyratory in Leeds when I had a spiritual ‘light bulb moment’. I suddenly realised that God loves me as much in the moment of sinning, as He does in those times when I’m not. It was such a freeing insight, and it seemed to fill my car ( and heart) with light. This understanding has never made me think it’s okay to sin. I don’t believe it has in any way lessened my desire to resist temptation, in the power of the Spirit; but it has helped me emotionally. At times, I could ( and can) be filled with self-loathing for doing wrong. However, what we see from Israel’s history, and what God wants us to be sure of, is that His “great” love is unconditional.

The truth is God did not give up on Israel. He “did not abandon them in the desert”. Rather, he heaped undeserved blessings upon them. This should encourage us, and also motivate us to want to please Him more and more. May His goodness lead us to repentance.

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4 New Living Translation).

Prayer: Lord, we stand in wonder before your immense compassion. Thank you for your patience with your erring children. May all your love and goodness comfort us and motivate us to pursue the path of holiness.