When you think of the Sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth and Who rules all things by His power and for His glory, you may not be prone to think of His gentleness. His gentle side, however, points to a source of great blessing for us and a mark to which He is both developing in us in our sanctification and to which we should aim in our daily lives.
Psalm 18:35 (ESV) — 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
Isaiah 40:11 (ESV) — 11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
When David considered the way that God has delivered him from his enemies and the way God has dealt with him spiritually, notice how he gives glory to God in focusing on God as a shield, a support, and His gentleness. You would think that David the mighty warrior would bring up the great deliverances of God in seeing God step in when things looked impossible. All he had to do was recall how God delivered him from Goliath and countless enemies since. Or even as he recounted the experiences of being confronted by a lion and a bear, but God the mighty deliverer was a shield for David from his enemies.
Not only that, but David also considered the mighty support he received from God continually as God provided for him, gave him strength, and even brought help around him. As David was fleeing from the hand of Saul, God supported him with mighty men. David would struggle to count all of the ways God had supported him, but made it pretty clear that he knew his support came from the right hand of God.
Psalm 103:1–5 (ESV) — 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
But consider the blessing of God’s gentleness that David listed as he said, “Your gentleness has made me great.” It was God’s gentleness that really moved David. It was God reaching down in tenderness as described in Isaiah that He would be as One who is mindful of our weaknesses.
Psalm 103:13–14 (ESV) — 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Or as the writer of Hebrews describes the Lord Jesus Christ as our high priest.
Hebrews 4:14–16 (ESV) — 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV) — 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
But notice that David says the gentleness of God has made him great. The very tenderness of God has reached down and brought him out of the pit and cared for his needs and set him in an exalted place.
Psalm 18:16–19 (ESV) — 16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
The greatness is not his accomplishments, or any accolades given to David, rather the place to which God had taken him from the tender mercy of God that reached out to David. Wow! That is a picture of the way God tenderly reaches to sinners.
Ephesians 2:1–7 (ESV) — 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
So the gentleness of God has made you great, now what?
God is working in you to bring out the fruit of the Spirit, or His qualities, even gentleness.
Galatians 5:22–23 (ESV) — 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.And we are reminded that we are to be gentle with each other and with those with whom we are sharing the Gospel.
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV) — 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect