Who is a God like unto thee, etc - Here is a challenge to all idol worshippers, and to all those who take false views of the true God, to show his like. See his characters; they are immediately subjoined.
1. "He will turn again." His face has been long turned from us, because of our sins.
2. "He will have compassion upon us" pity our state, and feel for our sorrows.
3. "He will subdue our iniquities." Though they have been mighty, he will bring them down, and bruise them under our feet.
4. "He will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Will fully pardon them, and never more remember them against us. Instead of חטאתם chattotham, Their sins, five MSS. of Kennicott's and De Rossi's, with the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, and Arabic read חטאתינו chattotheynu, Our sins. He will plunge them into eternal oblivion, never more to come into sight or remembrance; like a stone dropped into the "depths of the sea."
Who is a God - (and, as the word means, A Mighty God,) like unto Thee? He saith not, “Who hast made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is” Exodus 20:11; nor, “Who telleth the number of the stars; and calleth them all by their names” Psalm 147:4; nor, “Who by His strength setteth fast the mountains and is girded about with power” Psalm 65:6; but who forgivest! For greater is the work of Redemption than the work of Creation. “That pardoneth”, and beareth and taketh away also, “and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage”, that is, His heritage, which is a remnant still when “the rest are blinded” Romans 11:7; and this, not of its merits but of His mercy; since it is not His nature to “retain His anger forever”; not for anything in them, but “because He delighteth in mercy”, as He saith, “I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever” Jeremiah 3:12. “I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine oum sake, and will not remember thy sins” Isaiah 43:25.: “For although God for a time is angry with His elect, chastening them mercifully in this life, yet in the end He hath compassion on them, giving them everlasting consolations.”
Moses, after the completion of his people‘s deliverance at the Red Sea, used the like appeal to God, in unmingled joy. Then the thanksgiving ran, “glorious in holiness, awful in praises, doing wonders” Exodus 15:11. Now, it ran in a more subdued, yet even deeper, tone, taken from God‘s revelation of Himself after that great transgression on Mount Sinai “forgiving iniquity and trasgression and sin”. With this, Micah identified his own name. This was the one message which he loved above all to proclaim; of this, his own name was the herald to his people in his day. who is like the Lord, the Pardoner of sin, the Redeemer from its guilt, the Subduer of its power? For no false god was ever such a claim made. The pagan gods were symbols of God‘s workings in nature; they were, at best, representatives of His government and of His displeasure at sin. But, being the creatures of man‘s mind, they could hot freely pardon, for man dared not ascribe to them the attribute of a freely-pardoning mercy, for which be dared not hope. Who is a God like to Thee, mighty, not only to destroy but to pardon? is the wondering thanksgiving of time, the yet greater amazement of eternity, as eternity shall unveil the deep blackness of sin over-against the light of God, and we, seeing God, as He Is, shall see what that Holiness is, against Which we sinners sinned, The soul, which is truly penitent, never wearies of the wondering love, who is a God like unto Thee?
“God is love” is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green—all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy. SC 10.1
The word of God reveals His character. He Himself has declared His infinite love and pity. When Moses prayed, “Show me Thy glory,” the Lord answered, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” Exodus 33:18, 19. This is His glory. The Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. He is “slow to anger, and of great kindness,” “because He delighteth in mercy.” Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18. SC 10.2
God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us. Yet these but imperfectly represent His love. Though all these evidences have been given, the enemy of good blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fear; they thought of Him as severe and unforgiving. Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,—one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men. SC 10.3Read in context »
We should not try to lessen our guilt by excusing sin. We must accept God's estimate of sin, and that is heavy indeed. Calvary alone can reveal the terrible enormity of sin. If we had to bear our own guilt, it would crush us. But the sinless One has taken our place; though undeserving, He has borne our iniquity. “If we confess our sins,” God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. Glorious truth!—just to His own law, and yet the Justifier of all that believe in Jesus. “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy.” Micah 7:18. MB 116.1
Temptation is enticement to sin, and this does not proceed from God, but from Satan and from the evil of our own hearts. “God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempteth no man.” James 1:13 , R.V. MB 116.2Read in context »
It angered them also that those who showed only contempt for the rabbis and who were never seen in the synagogues should flock about Jesus and listen with rapt attention to His words. The scribes and Pharisees felt only condemnation in that pure presence; how was it, then, that publicans and sinners were drawn to Jesus? COL 186.1
They knew not that the explanation lay in the very words they had uttered as a scornful charge, “This man receiveth sinners.” The souls who came to Jesus felt in His presence that even for them there was escape from the pit of sin. The Pharisees had only scorn and condemnation for them; but Christ greeted them as children of God, estranged indeed from the Father's house, but not forgotten by the Father's heart. And their very misery and sin made them only the more the objects of His compassion. The farther they had wandered from Him, the more earnest the longing and the greater the sacrifice for their rescue. COL 186.2
All this the teachers of Israel might have learned from the sacred scrolls of which it was their pride to be the keepers and expounders. Had not David written—David, who had fallen into deadly sin—“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant”? Psalm 119:176. Had not Micah revealed God's love to the sinner, saying, “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy”? Micah 7:18. COL 186.3Read in context »
Not without one more call to repentance could He give them up. Toward the close of His ministry in Galilee, He again visited the home of His childhood. Since His rejection there, the fame of His preaching and His miracles had filled the land. None now could deny that He possessed more than human power. The people of Nazareth knew that He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. About them were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house; for He had passed through them, and healed all their sick. The mercy revealed in every act of His life testified to His divine anointing. DA 241.1
Again as they listened to His words the Nazarenes were moved by the Divine Spirit. But even now they would not admit that this Man, who had been brought up among them, was other or greater than themselves. Still there rankled the bitter memory that while He had claimed for Himself to be the Promised One, He had really denied them a place with Israel; for He had shown them to be less worthy of God's favor than a heathen man and woman. Hence though they questioned, “Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?” they would not receive Him as the Christ of God. Because of their unbelief, the Saviour could not work many miracles among them. Only a few hearts were open to His blessing, and reluctantly He departed, never to return. DA 241.2
Unbelief, having once been cherished, continued to control the men of Nazareth. So it controlled the Sanhedrin and the nation. With priests and people, the first rejection of the demonstration of the Holy Spirit's power was the beginning of the end. In order to prove that their first resistance was right, they continued ever after to cavil at the words of Christ. Their rejection of the Spirit culminated in the cross of Calvary, in the destruction of their city, in the scattering of the nation to the winds of heaven. DA 241.3Read in context »