“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.”
II Samuel 22:36
These were the words of David near the end of his life. God certainly had blessed David’s life in so many ways. He had been taken from caring for his father’s sheep to ruling the nation of Israel. He had seen great military victories with the help of God, including the slaying of Goliath. The Lord had given a host of mighty men to serve with and under David. God used David to write many of the Psalms. With the help of God, David became one of the greatest men to ever live. David said to God, “thy gentleness hath made me great.”
When we think of God and all of His powerful attributes, we might not consider His gentleness. The Bible records for us numerous examples of God’s might and power. We see such demonstrations as the lightning and thunder on Mt. Sinai, the earth opening and swallowing the rebellious Korah, the dividing of the Red Sea, the feeding of Israel with manna, or the floodwaters covering the wicked in Noah’s day. However, just as surely as God is powerful, He is also gentle. If He so desired, God could always act in overpowering might, but it is not His nature to do so. God is great, and He made David great in His gentleness. He can as easily speak in a still small voice as in the thunder. God is not overbearing or brutish. He is not cruel, unkind, or unreasonable. He does not act impulsively or inconsiderately. God is approachable and kind. God could accomplish His will by being forceful and demanding, but that is not the way He usually is. The hymn writer gave us these words, which aptly describe this attribute of God: “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me.”
Sometimes we wonder why God seems to be so longsuffering with rebels, and we wish that He were not so. However, we must be reminded, and also grateful for the fact that He has been extremely gentle with us. That is His nature, and it is a wonderful characteristic to consider. It is remarkable that a God Who made everything out of nothing and knows everything about everyone, would choose to be so meek and considerate. Because our Father is gentle, He would have us to be gentle as well. Gentleness is a characteristic of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit fills our lives, the gentleness of Christ will be expressed through us.