By Brooke Holt
“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.” Psalm 103:8-10
Growing up, I often said these infamous words to my parents --“that is not fair!” As the firstborn of four girls, I was very concerned with what seemed fair and right; they seemed to have a higher standard for me which often perplexed and frustrated me. I can remember my mom repeatedly responding to me with that familiar phrase: “life is not fair”.
Now that I have three grown children of my own, I understand my parents were right. Life is not fair, and I appreciate that God is not fair either. He never has been, has he? Instead of being fair, God has been merciful and gracious to his people. He has been patient, and his love has not failed despite the disbelief and rebellion of his people.
When the Israelites found themselves as slaves in the land of Egypt, the Lord heard their cries, and he rescued them. Miraculously, the Lord worked on behalf of Israel: through Moses as their leader, plagues, parting the Red Sea, leading his people by a pillar of cloud each day and a cloud of fire at night (Exodus 13). God manifested his mercy, grace, patience, and steadfast love through this redemptive work and provision.
Long after Moses and the stubborn Israelites, the Lord sent his Son for the greatest rescue mission ever. Though his children had hard hearts and ignorant minds, Jesus dwelt among them. Jesus taught, healed, and eventually gave up his very life that those who would believe in him would have forgiveness of sin and everlasting life. It is not fair that a perfect man died on behalf sin, yet it is the greatest gift ever given!
As we begin the season of Lent, David’s words in Psalm 103 serve to remind you that though you sin and fall short of the glory of God (everyone does), God sees beyond that sin and failure. Because of his great mercy, grace, patience, and steadfast love, the Lord sees the blood of Christ covering that sin – that is certainly not fair but so very good!
Ponder how God has poured out his mercy, grace, and steadfast love into your life. How have you responded to his faithfulness? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus’ great commission to his apostles after his resurrection was to go into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, baptism has been understood as the doorway into this new kind of family. Explore what Jesus expects of this new family that finds its origin and purpose in him. The baptized are called into a new life of faith. From passages in Matthew to the shining examples of faith in our passage from John, Waters of Baptism is a helpful resource for those seeking the sacrament of baptism or those who want a deeper understanding of their faith. This six week study will help us understand the importance of baptismal living.
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