Lessons in Grace- Psalm 103

8 Jun
I am thankful that God “does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” The verse just mentioned from Psalm 103 has been one that has come to mind often in the past few weeks. I am not “merciful and gracious” or “abounding in steadfast love” or “slow to anger”. In fact, I can think of several times today that I had the opportunity to be gracious, loving, and slow to anger but I chose the opposite. I chose to treat the person that wronged me the way that I thought they deserved; a cold shoulder, an angry yell, and an unmerciful attitude. Yet, thank God He does not deal with us the way we deserve. I need to be reminded of the truth of Scripture, humble myself, and by His grace “learn ourselves to be slow to anger; if the Lord is longsuffering under our great provocations how much more aught we to endure the errors of our brethren! And plenteous in mercy. Rich in it, quick in it, overflowing with it;” as Charles Spurgeon explains. Below is an excerpt from Psalm 103 and a wonderful short commentary from Spurgeon on verse 8 from his collection of sermons entitled “The Treasury of David“.

“The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will He keep His anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion tho those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.”
– Psalm 103: 8-14

Verse 8. Those whom he deals with are sinners. However much he favours them, they are guilty and need mercy at his hands, nor is he slow to compassionate their lost estate, or reluctant by his grace to lift them out of it. Mercy pardons sin, grace bestows favour: in both the Lord abounds. This is that way of his which he made known to Moses (Ex 34:6), and in that way he will abide as long at the age of grace shall last, and men are yet in this life. He who “executeth righteousness and justice,” yet delighteth in mercy. Slow to anger. He can be angry and can deal out righteous indignation upon the guilty, but it is his strange work; he lingers long, with loving pauses, tarrying by the way to give space for repentance and opportunity for accepting his mercy. Thus deals he with the greatest sinners, and with his own children much more so: towards them his anger is shortlived and never reaches into eternity, and when it is shown in fatherly chastisements, he does not afflict willingly, and soon pities their sorrows. From this we should learn ourselves to be slow to anger; if the Lord is longsuffering under our great provocations how much more aught we to endure the errors of our brethren! And plenteous in mercy. Rich in it, quick in it, overflowing with it; and so had he need to be or we should soon be consumed. He is God, and not man, or our sins would soon drown his love; yet above the mountains of our sins his mercy rise.

“Plenteous grace with thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within.”

All the world tastes of his sparing mercy, those who hear the gospel partake of his inviting mercy, the saints live by his saving mercy, are preserved by his upholding mercy, are cheered by his consoling mercy, and will enter heaven through his infinite and everlasting mercy. Let grace abounding be our hourly song in the house of our pilgrimage. Let those who feel that they live upon it glorify the plenteous fountain from which it so spontaneously flows.
-Charles H. Spuregeon
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