Verse 8. The Lord is gracious. Was it not in some such terms that the Lord revealed himself to Moses? Is not this Jehovah's glory? To all living men his aspect: he is gracious, or full of goodness and generosity. He treats creatures with kindness, his subjects with consideration, and his saints favour. His words and ways, his promises and his gifts, his plans and his poses all manifest his grace, or free favour. There is nothing suspicious, diced, morose, tyrannical, or unapproachable in Jehovah, -- he is condescending and kind. And full of compassion. To the suffering, the weak, the despondent, he is very pitiful: he feels for them, he feels with them: he this heartily, and in a practical manner. Of this pitifulness he is full, so the compassionates freely, constantly, deeply, divinely, and effectually. In fulness in a sense not known among men, and this fulness is all fragrant sympathy for human misery. If the Lord be full of compassion there is no in him for forgetfulness or harshness, and none should suspect him What an ocean of compassion there must be since the Infinite God is full of Slow to anger. Even those who refuse his grace yet share in long suffering. When men do not repent, but, on the contrary, go from bad to worse, averse to let his wrath flame forth against them. Greatly patient and anxious that the sinner may live, he "lets the lifted thunder drop", and still bears. "Love suffereth long and is kind", and God is love. And of great mercy. This is his attitude towards the guilty. When men at last repent, find pardon awaiting them. Great is their sin, and great is God's mercy, need great help, and they have it though they deserve it not; for he is good to the greatly guilty.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. The Lord is gracious, etc. The proclamation of the Lord to Moses ( Exodus 34:6 ) is the fountain head of these epithets. --James G. Murphy.
Verse 8. In God there is no passion, only compassion. --Richard Rothe, 1799-1867.
Verse 8. Of great mercy. Mercy hath misery for its object, and is that attribute towards which the eyes of a fallen world must necessarily be turned. The Psalmist hath, accordingly, introduced her last with great pomp and splendour, seated in her triumphal chariot, and invested with a supremacy over all the works of God. She is above the heavens, and over all the earth, so that the whole creation findeth that refuge under the shadow of her wings of which, by reason of man's transgression, it standeth in need. -- Samuel Burder.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Grace to the unworthy.
- Compassion to the afflicted.
- Forbearance to the guilty.
- Mercy to the penitent. --G. R.