“The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.” Numbers 14.18
This description of God actually occurs in the middle of a prayer that Moses prayed to God. The people were grumbling and were actually talking about killing Moses and Aaron. God appeared and seemed to be about to strike the people with a plague but Moses spoke up for them, and in the middle of his prayer he actually reminded God of his loving nature – and God seemed to change his mind.
This story presents us with many questions: does God need to be calmed down on occasions? Can we change God’s mind even when he seems set on one particular course of action? However, it is Moses’ utter conviction of the goodness of God that shines through. Even when he sensed that God was about to do something terrible, he was still utterly convinced of God’s love and goodness. How convinced are we of this, or is there some part of us that feels that God is – certainly at times – mean, harsh and vindictive? This may be because we simply cannot understand why some things have happened and the only conclusion we can reach is that God is harsh.
Let’s learn from Moses and recognise that the nature of God is unchanging; God is abounding in love – all the time. He probably does not need reminding of this, but we do. Take these words, “The Lord is . . . abounding in love”, and turn them into a phrase of worship: ‘Lord, you are abounding in love’. Call to mind the events of the day ahead, some that are good and others that you may be approaching with anxiety or even dread, and over each event say these words – ‘Lord, you are abounding in love.’