In the third section of Psalm 78 (vs. 37-54), we see God’s mercy and are reminded that he is slow to anger.
The Israelites had proven fickle and their claims of faith were shallow and short-lived. Yet, despite their unfaithfulness and their provocation, God remained merciful.
“Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.”Psalm 78:38
God, the almighty Creator, restrained himself for the sake of his people because he was compassionate. This is contrary to a narrative that is often spewed about the God of the Old Testament.
Many like to say that the God of the Old Testament was angry and vengeful, but that’s not true. God’s people were so wicked and quick to forget God’s faithfulness, and He had every write to blot them from the earth, but he refrained because he is merciful.
Charles Spurgeon explains it best:
“Though they were full of flattery, he was full of mercy, and for this cause he had pity on them. Not because of their pitiful and hypocritical pretensions to penitence, but because of his own real compassion for them he overlooked their provocations. “Yea, many a time turned he his anger away.” When he had grown angry with them he withdrew his displeasure. Even unto seventy times seven did he forgive their offenses. He was slow, very slow, to anger. The sword was uplifted and flashed in midair, but it was sheathed again, and the nation yet lived.”
Spend some time today reflecting on the mercy God has given you and say a prayer of thanksgiving to Him for the mercy given instead of judgment deserved.