The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
~Psalm 103:8, NIV
Allow the LORD to soften your heart until it beats in rhythm with His; until you love people as He loves people.
Psalm 103:8 is a quote or reference to Exodus 34:6, “The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” This verse is found seven times in scripture. To my knowledge, it is the most quoted verse in scripture. It is used three times in the Psalms [103:8, 111:4, 145:8]. Hezekiah quotes this verse when he reaches out to the Northern Tribes by inviting them to Passover. Joel also quotes this verse and of course the one you will remember is Jonah who quotes it in anger and rage: he was upset with God for forgiving the people of Nineveh.
Jonah anger and attitude was the opposite of God’s. God is slow to get angry–Jonah was quick to get angry. God is anxious to forgive–Jonah was very hesitant about forgiving. God puts our sins behind Him, He separates us from them as far and the East from the West [Psalm 103:12]–Jonah would not let go of Assyrian sins. So God is slow to anger, ready to forgive and able to forget. We are quick to get angry, slow to forgive and we never forget. The moral of the story: we need to be more like Jesus and less like Jonah. Jonah and I were cut out of the same cloth, we know scripture, we just don’t put it into practice. There is one distinct difference: Jonah knew no fear. I’m sorry folks but it would take a lot of prayer and several Valiums to get me to go to Bagdad and tell those folks they are going to hell if they don’t repent and stop blowing up buildings and decapitating humans. Yes, I know Jonah was a A-hole but he was a courageous A-hole. I’m just…well you know what I am.
Ken Blackwood and I were talking this past week and he brought up James Merritt and what he said about the confederacy at the SBC meeting last June in Birmingham. He made a moving speech about his detest of the confederate battle flag. According to Merritt, no Christian should fly any kind of flag. The confederate flag offends uneducated blacks who are convinced that the Civil War was about slavery only and the American flag offends the Jehovah Witness and the Muslims. I’m not God and I don’t know the man’s heart but I think Merritt was grand standing in support of political correctness. He is right: we should love people more than flags but that would include our staff. I heard the testimony of one of his staff who said he never felt loved by James Merritt.
Obviously Merritt doesn’t practice what he preaches but neither do I. It’s not so much race with me; I have no trouble loving black conservatives. I do struggle in loving those who world’s view comes into conflict with mine.
I can’t help but to look at the weather apt about a dozen times a day. It doesn’t: they keep prolonging the heat wave. Now they are saying next Tuesday will be 97. I’ve accepted the fact that September is going to be hot from start to finish. It will cool off eventually, I think. Danville is leading their region at 2-0. Ride the wave and enjoy it while it last.