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Steadfast Love

by | Feb 16, 2022 | Faithfulness, God's Love, Salvation

“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalms 103:7-8 ESV)

God made His ways known to Moses and to Israel, but what are His ways? According to the psalmist, God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” All of these ways were made known through God’s mighty acts in the history of Israel, acts faithfully recorded in Holy Scripture. God graciously chose Abraham to be the father of a nation. The Lord made a covenant with Abraham, promising that through one of his descendants “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3b). With mighty acts of power, God brought His people out of slavery in Egypt and led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. When the Israelites rebelled against God and sacrificed to idols, the Lord gave them into the hands of their enemies. Yet when they cried to God for help, “He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the abundance of His steadfast love” (Psalm 106:45b).

During the era of Israel’s judges, God acted in mercy. When enemies oppressed them, the people cried out to God. “The Lord was moved to pity by their groaning” and raised up judges to save His people (Judges 2:18b ESV). This cycle of rebellion and repentance was often repeated, yet the merciful Lord who abounds in steadfast love acted again and again to save His people. God raised up kings to rule His people and chose the young shepherd David to reign over Israel. God made a covenant with the king, promising to raise up a Son of David and “establish the throne of His kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:13b ESV). David himself said, “Great salvation He brings to His king, and shows steadfast love to His anointed, to David and his offspring forever” (Psalm 18:50 ESV). In all of these acts in Israel’s history—and in many other mighty acts of power—God made His ways known.

Throughout Israel’s history God remembered His covenant promise and, at the right time, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem. Jesus is the Offspring of Abraham and the Son of David; He is the promised blessing for the nations. God’s mercy and grace, His anger and steadfast love, came together at the cross of Jesus. Out of steadfast love, God sent His Son as the sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. Jesus carried our sins in His body to the cross, suffering and dying under God’s just wrath against sin. For Jesus’ sake, God shows mercy to us, choosing us by grace to be His own people and forgiving our sins. God’s ways are made known to us in Holy Scripture. From those sacred pages, and from God’s mighty acts in our own lives, we have learned—and we believe—that “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Prayer: Lord God, guide me in the study of Your Word so that I may better know Your ways. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on February 14, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. What are your favorite Old Testament stories showing God’s kindness and love?
2. How did God’s covenant figure into His giving Israel a second chance, and a third, and a fourth?
3. On a personal level, how has God been patient and longsuffering with you? (No need to share.)