Summary: God is slow to anger and great in mercy. Some believe that they are deserving of His love but when it comes down to it, we are far from deserving.
Psalm 145:8 – 14 reads, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power. To make known to the sons of men His might acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord upholds all who fall, And raises up all those who are bowed down.”
Have you ever witnessed this attitude from others or yourself? “I’m sure glad we know that we deserve God’s love. I mean look at us…. we have so many good things going for us. We give our resources, energy, and time to the church. We come Sundays and worship God. We try to live good Christian lives every day. We love our friends and families so well. Yes, we sure deserve all of God’s loves and blessings. Aren’t you glad that we do?
Of course I am not saying that we are perfect. Is anybody? Sure, I might want to spend most of my time and money on other things. I might want to miss half the Sundays during the summer because I want to relax and enjoy it. Sure, I know I often do what God doesn’t want me to but I know that God loves me. I know I love my family so when I say something or do something that might hurt them, they’ll get over it. I know we’re not perfect but aren’t you glad that we deserve God’s love?”
I hope by now you realize I am not speaking how I really believe our faith with God is. I am sure you realize that we really don’t deserve God’s love. We really don’t deserve anything but a good knock on the head because in truth, we sometimes are pretty pathetic in the way we treat our families, our church, and ourselves. Sometimes we think we don’t need anyone. That we can, like the preschooler, “do it all by myself.” And pretty soon, as we continue to congratulate ourselves over and over, we start believing that we can do it all by ourselves. Isn’t it amazing that the ones we love actually put up with us? Isn’t it amazing that God puts up with us?
In Psalm 145 this morning the good news is that God is gracious and full of compassion. The good news is that God is slow in getting angry with us and full of mercy for us. Has there ever been a time when you know you deserved worse than you received for something you had done? I can sure remember a time when I was growing up that I deserved much more than I received.
The Star Wars movie, “Return of the Jedi,” had come out the summer before I entered the ninth grade. My brother Quinn and I wanted to see it in the worse way. There was a slight problem getting in the way of enjoying this special effects treat at the theater. Money. This was also a time in our family’s life when we didn’t really have any money since my father hadn’t been home for months. But the urgency and desire to go to this movie was overwhelming.
My friends had already seen it, some twice. I was going crazy with not being able to see the movie. So I did what I shouldn’t have and took twenty bucks from my mom without her knowing it. What was worse was that I dragged my brother along and we rode our bicycles at 7 o’clock at night across town to the theater without telling her. I paid for the tickets with the stolen money and we went in and started to watch the movie. About fifteen minutes into the movie we heard over the intercom, “Would Aaron and Quinn Kilbourn please come to the main lobby, your grandparents are waiting for you.”
Quinn and I looked at each other and gulped at the same time. We know our turkeys were cooked. We walked out to the lobby and were immediately ‘escorted’ to the parking lot by my grandfather’s strong hands. Before we loaded up in the car my grandfather said, “You’re lucky that I’m not going to whip you town right here in the parking lot.” We got home and Mom was waiting for us. We got grounded and we worked to pay the money back, but that sure beat getting whipped by Grandpa in the parking lot.
That was a lesson in mercy for us. I never took anything from my Mom again after that and I sure remembered why. Mom didn’t blow her top, she didn’t yell at us for the rest of the night. Even though we had punishment it sure wasn’t what we deserved.