The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Psalm 103:8-10 (NIV)
Read: Psalm 103:1-22
Consider: When we looked at Psalm 135 a few days ago we noticed that it began and ended with the words ‘Praise the LORD’. Today’s reading in Psalm 103 also begins and ends this way and reminds us of the things that we should be thankful for in our Christian lives. This is clear from what the psalmist says: Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not his benefits … (Psalm 103:2). At this point in the psalm we are reminded of God’s forgiving nature (‘… forgives all your sins …’) and his caring nature (‘… heals all your diseases’) [103:3].
As we move through the psalm we are reminded of how God revealed himself to Moses (Exodus 33) and how Moses came to understand God’s character through how he dealt patiently with the Israelites when they rebelled against him time and again. The psalmist describes God’s character this way: ‘… the LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (103:8-10).
The psalmist speaks of God not treating us as our sins deserve, nor does he repay us according to our sins. These words got me thinking and reminded me of what Paul says in Romans about God’s patience. In Romans 2:4 we read: Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Why does God not immediately punish us for our sins, or treat us in the way we deserve? It is because he is being patient with us and in his forbearance he is holding back his justice, so as to give us an opportunity to repent and receive his forgiveness. This forgiveness is achieved in a unique way as we read in Romans 3: God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished (Romans 3:25).
We learn from this that God has not as yet punished mankind for their wickedness, but instead has provided a solution by allowing his Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment we deserve and to pay the price for sin that God’s righteousness and justice demand.
If you have put your trust in Christ you have a lot to be thankful for. So ‘Praise the LORD’.
Pray: Father, we thank and praise you for the patience and forbearance you showed us when we were alienated from you. We pray for those we know who have still rejected you, that your Holy Spirit would work in their hearts to bring them to repentance. Amen