Slow to anger and rich in steadfast love

Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 41.13-20; Psalm 145.1, 8-13; Matthew 11.11-15.

Forgive me if I leave the Matthew text alone for the time being. I am drawn (again) to one of my favourite verses of the Bible – Psalm 145.8, ‘The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.’ We read the same thing yesterday in Psalm 103.8. These words (with only very minor variations) appear about eight times in the Bible and are alluded to in many other passages too. Using metaphorical language, they beautifully describe the character of God as revealed to Moses on the mountain and supremely manifested in the person of in Jesus.

It is often suggested to me that the God of the Old Testament is legalistic, vindictive and hateful. Well, if Psalm 103.8 and 145.8 (and Ex 34.6; Nu 14.18; Ps 86.15; Neh 9.17; Joel 2.13; Jonah 4.2) are anything to go by, nothing could be further from the truth!

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