When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let His people go, Moses wanted to know, “What if I tell the Israelites that the God of your fathers sent me to deliver you and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what do I tell them?” God told Moses to tell them that I AM has sent me, meaning He would be whatever they needed Him to be at any time. He proved to be their Deliverer; their Provider when they were hungry; their Provider when they were thirsty; whatever they needed God was. He was their “AM” in every situation. He was present to supply their every need.
In Psalm 86:15 David testified that, to him, the Lord was compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. God wants us to know that He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Therefore these words are written in the scripture many times. To be compassionate means to feel a deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune. This kind of sympathy moves one to feel empathy, which gives a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Empathy provokes one to not only feel for the person, but also to take action to make things better for that person. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, was filled with compassion. In the 7th chapter of Luke, Jesus saw a widow weeping as she was marching to the cemetery to bury her son. Jesus felt compassion for her and told her not to cry. He then went to the bier on which the casket was laid and told her son to rise. When life came back in her son, He gave him to his mother. Jesus showed compassion.
To be gracious is to show favor. Isaiah 30:18 tells us that the Lord longs to be gracious to us; He rises to show compassion. I was driving the other day and I almost hit the back of a city bus. I say, “Almost” because God showed favor to the people on the bus and to me by causing me to stop just in time. How often does God show us favor and compassion and we do not recognize it as such. He was gracious and showed compassion toward me when He gave me the wisdom to change doctors at the time that I did in 2020 and gave the new doctor the wisdom to find cancer in time for them to get it all. Then He showed me favor in giving the doctor the wisdom to have my gallbladder checked and discovered gallstones in time for them to be removed before I had a more serious problem. I thank God for His favor and compassion. How about you? Do you have a testimony?
God is slow to anger. Human anger is quick to react. We hold grudges and throw tantrums. There are some who became angry years and years ago and are still angry today. The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in loving devotion, forgiving iniquity and transgression. Yes, there are times when God gets angry, but we cannot equate His anger emotions to the emotions of humans when we get angry. God’s anger is righteous anger. God’s anger is surrounded by mercy, grace, love, and compassion. Just as a parent becomes angry at anything that would hurt his/her children, so God’s anger is directed at that which would harm His people and their relationship with Him.
God is abounding in love. This means that God has an abundance of love. His love is so plentiful it will never run out. He loves us even if we do not love Him. The only reason we can love is because He first loved us. (1John 4:19) It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts to make us capable of love, and it is His example of love that reminds us again and again of our need to love other people. He is rich in love because He IS Love! God loves us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
God is faithful. We can always trust God’s Word. He is trustworthy. God is not a man that He should lie. (Numbers 23:19) Even if we don’t remain faithful to Him, He will remain faithful to us. (2Timothy 2:13) We who believe in Christ can have much comfort in knowing that God has always been faithful and always will be faithful. We can trust every promise God has made in His Word. If there’s someone who hasn’t received Jesus as your Savior, I admonish you to do so today, and if you do, God has promised you eternal life. You can count on that.
Presiding Elder (Retired) Ella M. Samuels
4116 Wyrick Court Raleigh, North Carolina 27612
African Methodist Episcopal Church