8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
The attributes of the LORD mentioned in this verse were once revealed by the LORD Himself to Moses on mount Sinai. In Exodus 34:6, Moses recorded the LORD proclaiming Himself as “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”. These attributes of the LORD had been wonderfully experienced by the people of Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt and guided them forward in spite of their murmuring and rebellion.
As in the days of old, God still shows Himself daily in our life today (as proclaimed in His Word) that He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” The fact that He engages with sinners like us shows that He is the same as He has proclaimed Himself to be. How could an infinitely holy God attend to a stubborn and disobedient people like us, if He is not merciful and gracious? Oh, let us praise Him for He is unto us what we need the most – a merciful and gracious God!
There appears a progression of thought in the enumeration of the Lord’s attributes in our text. Because the LORD is merciful and gracious, He is slow to anger. If not for His mercy and grace, we would have been long consumed in His hot displeasure. Does not His Word warn us that He is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 10:27)? We also read in Numbers 11:1, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” Again in Numbers 16:35, it is recorded that “there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.”
If not for His merciful and gracious dealings with us, we would not be alive today to read about our most magnanimous LORD and enjoy His benevolence. He has been “slow to anger”; that means He has been patient with us despite the repeated provocations of our sinful ways. We are also told that He is “plenteous in mercy”. Though our lives have been sustained and nourished by immeasurable outpourings of His mercy, we can still look forward to many more experiences of the abundance of His mercy. His mercies, being new every morning, are not in small or stinted measure, but are rich, full, overflowing and freely lavished on us.