By Travis Lauterbach
King David prayed to the Lord God, saying, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)
David says that the Lord is slow to anger. God’s slowness to anger is a display of His mercy and grace.
Many Scripture passages describe the Lord as slow to anger. This Psalm is a prime example. His slowness to anger is synonymous with His patience.
But where in Scripture do we find the Lord’s slowness to anger?
Actually, it’s the Bible’s entire theme.
When Adam and Eve sinned, death came into the world. While they didn’t immediately die as a result of God’s judgment, they would surely die in time. However, God, in His slowness to anger, promised to send a Savior from sin and death.
All throughout the Bible, God’s slowness to anger is shown to sinners like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites constantly doubted God’s care and kindness to them. A few times they outright rebelled. Nevertheless, God took them to the Promised Land where they continued to test His patience.
God showed His slowness of anger to kings such as Saul, David, and Solomon. He even showed His slowness of anger to the whole nation of Israel. For it was many years of faithlessness and idolatry before He sent them into exile. And then He returned the people from exile after only 70 years.
God ultimately shows His slowness to anger through Jesus. John 3:17 tells us that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save the world.
Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
The Lord doesn’t want sinners to die eternally. He exercises grace and mercy toward sinners in slowness to anger. He does this so that as many as possible may be saved.
Travis Lauterbach is the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 350 Falcon Ridge Pkwy. Bldg. 600.