Every once in a while, I stumble across a characteristic of God, an attribute of His, a behavior, a response, that catches my breath.
I wrote a few months ago about the God who sustains, the God who stoops to make us great.
I’m still reading the books of 1 Chronicles and Psalms, and yesterday’s psalm was Psalm 86 (a prayer of David).
The Psalm begins:
Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer.
The God who bends.
I had to pause as I was overcome with this image. Our Heavenly Father, all-powerful and all-knowing, able to speak just one word and entire universes are created – this awesome God. Was He really the God who would bend down to hear our prayer?
First, I wanted to learn more about this word that is translated “bend”.
The transliterated Hebrew word is “natah“. Here are some other ways it’s translated:
to bend, turn, incline, to bend down
to stretch out, to spread out
to incline, influence, hold out, extend
I then went to the Word to see if there were other mentions of God bending (using my Life Recovery Bible, which is the New Living Translation).
“Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see!” 2 Kings 19:16
“Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you.” Psalm 102:1-2
“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.” Psalm 17:6
“Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see!” Isaiah 37:17
Thus far, these are all declarations from people, requests that God bend down and hear their prayers. These are desperate cries from people desperate for God to show up. Psalm 102 even contains the description: “A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the Lord.”
And then I read Psalm 116:1-2:
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
The God who bends. He bends down to listen. He inclines His ear. He stoops, and then He sustains. He rescues. He comforts, and He answers.
He is the God who bends.
The ultimate picture of God bending is when He sent His Son, Jesus, to carry the cross in order to correct the problem of sin and disconnection from our Source. The perfect picture of Jesus, literally bending under the weight of the cross, so that we would be freed to become the people God created us to be, His flawless sacrifice of love, so that we would walk in the freedom and abundant life that only became possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Verse 5 of Psalm 86 says, “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” Verse 15 says “You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
That is a picture of the God who bends.
Ready to forgive.
Full of unfailing love.
Slow to anger.
Again, full of unfailing love.
The God who spared no expense, who gives, and gives, and gives some more.
Today, the God who bends is calling you to call to Him. Stop trying to become “good enough” to come to Him. There is no such thing! As the song “I will arise and go to Jesus” states, “If we tarry till we’re better, we will never come to all.”
Come. As you are. It sounds trite, almost too simple. That’s the beauty of grace, the beauty of God’s character.
We serve the God who bends.