“For the Lord is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love”. – Psalm 145:8 (ESV)
I love strawberry rhubarb pie. I make it once a year when the berries are bursting with ripeness. There is nothing like driving to a favorite orchard near my house, getting a large cardboard box, and settling down in the field row to pick. The sun warms my shoulders, the laughter of excited families permeates the air, and it seems that every leaf I reach under has shiny, red, sweet, juicy, berries. After loading up my tray and driving home, I carefully clean the fruit and then the pie-making begins. Although this is a long labor of love, the best part comes when I sit down to eat the pie. My fork probes the flaky crust and digs into the berries below. I savor each layer–the berries and rhubarb, the crust, the whipped cream. I can’t decide what layer I like best! Each one seems to get better and better! They are all amazing and good, tantalizing to the tongue.
I savor these verses of Scripture. Just like strawberry rhubarb pie, each layer that I read on God’s character gets better and better! And not only that, when I begin to think about how God has treated me in my life with these characteristics, I fall in love over and over and can only say, “Praise God!”
The Lord is gracious. Grace is undeserved kindness. Where in your life has God shown you undeserved kindness? Maybe you weren’t so deserving of kindness or forgiveness, but God showed it to you anyway.
The Lord is merciful. Mercy may be hard to recognize, some translations call it “compassion”. When has the Lord shown you compassion? How have you shown compassion and empathy to others?
The Lord is slow to anger. God is a patient Father and does not anger easily when we sin and fall away from Him. Through Christ, we are free of His wrath and condemnation, and His love pulls us back towards Him.
The Lord is abounding in steadfast love. This verse is like the layer of whipped cream on the pie! “Abounding” reminds me of “showering”, “cascading”, pouring over”. God’s love is “steadfast”… iron-clad, immovable, here to stay. Imagine an immovable, showering love. That’s the kind of love that God gives us daily. And that is much to praise God about!
Activity- Using each of the italicized attributes of God, pray and thank God for how He has shown you each of these in your life.
Prayer- “Lord, you are gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. This time and culture rankles us when we don’t always see these characteristics exhibited in our own world. Your Word stands apart. You stand apart. Help us to recognize the ways you ARE working in our world and in our lives. Open our eyes to your amazing love and help us share it with others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”