15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.
I don’t know about you, but when someone cuts me off on the road and causes me to scramble at the last minute to execute a very risky maneuver in order to avoid a collision, mercy and patience are the last things that come out of me. I feel wronged, and I seek for divine justice.
In Psalm 86:15, King David, a child of God, is asking God the Father to have mercy on his soul. He learned that God is the God of mercy from Moses. For it is written in Torah, in the book of Exodus, chapter 34, verses 6-7: “Then the Lord passed in front of him (Moses) and proclaimed, ‘Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.’”
In this event, Moses was on Mount Sinai, after Israel committed the sin of the golden calf. He had come back up to receive a new set of tablets and to intercede for Israel, to ask for Teshuva (forgiveness) so the Lord would not destroy the people of Israel (Exodus 32:7-10). After Moses interceded for the people, he asked to see Yahweh’s face. But the Lord said to Moses, “No man can see my face and live.” So the Lord put Moses in the cleft of a rock and passed by him, proclaiming His mercy as we read above in Exodus 34:6-7. This passage contains what are known as the 13 attributes of God’s mercy.
So what do we learn from this event, and how can we apply this to our lives? Yahweh is a merciful and loving Father. He is patient towards us, His children. We sin against Him in our minds, hearts and deeds by the things we have done and by the things we have left undone. But He is still patient towards us, seeking that we would repent.
When we seek Him and enter into His presence through the blood of His Son Jesus, we stand in front of the Judge of mercy. If we confess our sins to Him, He who is faithful and just will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). And instead of getting His rightful justice, we get His mercy, and His abundant grace falls upon us. God is a patient and merciful Father!
Also in this passage, we see how King David recited God’s Word in prayer. This is a “formula” that many of the people in the Scriptures followed. When we enter into His presence and draw near to the throne of grace in prayer, it is good to speak God’s Word back to Him. It is a reassuring way that allows the believer to grow in his or her faith and to dwell securely in His Word.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Confession of sin is a spiritual discipline that often is neglected. Do you confess your sins to Him on a regular basis? See 1 John 1:6-10.
- God has given us many wonderful promises in the scriptures. When you pray, do you recite back His promises to you?
- The only way to enter into God’s presence is through the blood of Jesus poured out on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Have you confessed Jesus as Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?