Reading: Exodus 34:5-7 and Psalm 103:1-14
Because Exodus 34:5-7 tells us so much about God and is quoted very often in the Bible, we will study it closely. First God reveals He is “The LORD, the LORD God”; this is followed by seven attributes of God, namely merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, truth, forgiving and just.
The first is merciful which can also be translated as compassionate or sympathetic. God is sympathetic and cares about us. He understands we are weak and wants to help us whenever necessary. Psalm 103:13-14 “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
God is also gracious. This word means undeserved favour. God does not give us what we deserve; if He does, we would be lost forever, because we sinners deserve his wrath. Instead, as Psalm 103:10 says, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” Gracious God gives us what we do not deserve, namely, His free gift of grace through Jesus Christ. By grace God gives us eternal salvation.
God is also longsuffering, which can also be translated as: slow to anger. With this God reveals He is very patient. Slow to anger means He does sometimes become angry; holy anger is his response to sin. But God is not like people who lose their temper quickly and rush in with punishment. When His children sin He patiently invites them to repentance and waits for their prayers and confession of sin. Indeed, God was always very patient with Israel. And 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Question: Identify two examples from the Bible where God shows He is slow to anger. Explain the circumstances of each example and what God’s purpose was.