God is Compassionate, Gracious, Abounds in Love and Faithfulness
Psalm 86:15 New International Version (NIV)
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
We live in a world where anger abounds. We see it daily on display in a variety of ways. We see it on people’s faces. We see it in people’s attitude. We hear it in words people write and speak. We see it in aggressive driving. We see it on display on social media. The list could go on and on about how anger is displayed in our society.
Many Christians write things on social media that make me cringe because of the angry words they write and language they use. I believe that Christians should always edify Christ in words and deed. We should be encouragers, not discouragers. As a Christian shouldn’t we be displaying an entire different way than what is the norm for the world?
Have you ever been in a check out line and watch a grumpy, complaining person berate the cashier? You see the countenance and body language of the cashier change almost immediately. Have you notice the carryover effect? The grumpy person has had an effect on the cashier and on those standing in line. The cashier’s countenance was once bright and cheerful now is down cast. A smile has turned into a frown. An attitude of friendliness has turned into an attitude of detachment, hurt and anger. Even those in line notice a change in the demeanor and attitude. As light that God has placed in the world, we have the opportunity to display Him in our lives to others. We have the opportunity to react in love and kindness rather than in anger. Anger breeds anger. Love, kindness, grace, and mercy breaks the binding chain of anger.
In our verse for today, we see a number of things. First we see that the LORD is compassionated toward us. Shouldn’t we display the same toward one another. Second, He is gracious. Shouldn’t we show grace toward others. Third, He is slow to anger. There are two types of anger. The first is righteous anger which Jesus displayed on some occasions. The other is what most often what we display, sinful anger.
I thought about Jesus coming into the Temple and finding the money changers and turning over the tables and driving them out of the place of worship. He stated that the Temple was to be a place of prayer and you have made it a den of thieves. It was their use of sacred space for monetary gain. It was their attitude toward people. It was using the place that God had designated for worship and using it for something else. It was sin.
Every where I read in the Bible where God’s righteous anger is revealed it is always because of man's sin and rebellion. Even when man sins, God's love is on display. God calls man to Him and says that if you will repent I will restore and withhold My wrath. Yes, there are consequences to our sin. I bear the marks of the consequences of my sins. But, by His strips I am healed.
Even in discipline, God continues to remind us He loves us. God has shown man the right way. He has revealed Himself to mankind. He has provided Jesus as the sacrifice so that we can be reconciled with Him. Recently, I disciplined one of the grandsons. After the discipline, I affirmed that I loved him. Every time the LORD has to discipline me, He always affirms His love.
The fourth thing that is revealed is that God is love. John 3:16 reveals God's love for us. I learned that verse early in my Christian walk. It reveals God’s loving nature. Paul wrote that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Isn’t that love on display.
The final thing that I saw in the verse was God’s faithfulness. The longer I live, the more I see God’s faithfulness revealed. He has given me memory. Those memories continually remind me that God was faithful. Because He has always been faithful, I can count on Him to be always faithful.
Today's hymn is Love Lifted Me
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessèd presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.
Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.