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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, September 18, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 103:1–13

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. (NRSV)

If there is a motto for God, it is “slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.” Those words reverberate throughout Scripture. We hear them not only in the psalms and from prophets, but most notably in the formative experience of the Exodus: when Moses goes back up the mountain a second time to receive the Torah, God passes by him and he hears those classic words.

But behind these words, comforting as they are, is a rather profound truth. We human beings are rather hot-tempered, quick to become frustrated by the inconvenient or nonsensical behavior of other persons. That hot seething anger can so often consume us and putting it on hold can be one of the most difficult challenges we face. God is of course not immune to anger. There is holy anger and righteous indignation in the face of evil, wrongdoing, and injustice. However, what God exercises is a patient love that refuses to see anyone beyond the point of redemption. In compassion, God is willing to abide with us until our hearts and behavior are fully transformed. How is it that you might practice this patient love in your own life this day?

Redeeming God, thank you for ways in which your Spirit patiently shapes and guides me toward your righteousness. Abide with me through my mistakes and weaknesses, so that I can share your patient love with others. Amen.

Written by Joseph L. Morrow, Minister for Evangelism

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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