When I think “gentleness”, what pops into my mind is my wife holding and caressing my infant daughter almost 20 years ago. Her touch is soothing. She softly hums a lullaby. The farthest thing from her thinking at that quiet moment, is anything harsh or cruel.
One of my favorite verses telegraphs the wonderous news, “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.” (Isaiah 42:3, NLT). God’s temperament is gentle and kind. He is patient far beyond any human logic. As a matter of fact, his love seems to be borderline ridiculous. As believers, we need to get used to His strange proclivities of loving all and turning away none. I really believe that harshness and cruelty are the furthest thing from His mind or heart.
I for one, am glad God is like this. When I’m depressed or manic, paranoid or confused, I am so glad that God is not a man. He doesn’t give up on me, others have marked me off as a discipleship failure, and let me go. But He loves me even more than a mother loves the baby on her lap.
A.W. Tozer writing on Psalm 18:35: “Your gentleness has made me great.”
“God is easy to live with. Satan’s first attack upon the human race was his sly effort to destroy Eve’s confidence in the kindness of God. Unfortunately for her and for us he succeeded too well. From that day, men have had a false conception of God, and it is exactly this that has cut out from under them the ground of righteousness and driven them to reckless and destructive living.
Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God. Certain sects, such as the Pharisees, while they held that God was stern and austere, yet managed to maintain a fairly high level of external morality; but their righteousness was only outward.
Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be. The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service one of unspeakable pleasure.
The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul.
He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.”
– A.W. Tozer in The Root of the Righteous, pp. 13-16. As quoted in the Banner of Truth Magazine (issue 531; Dec. 2007).