Why it Matters So Much That God Is “Slow to Anger”

“The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and fourth generations.’” – Numbers 14:18

“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,” – Nehemiah 9:17

I knew the screen on my phone would shatter before it landed. Too slow to catch it mid-air, all I could do was watch it sail and smack and sweep up the broken shards of glass. Human anger is quick to react. We hold grudges and throw tantrums. We are driven by our sinful nature and wage a constant spiritual battle with its tendencies.

God is slow to anger, a truth repeated vigorously throughout Scripture. Abba isn’t driven by anger or swayed by sin. He is God. His anger is just, and His consequence for our sin merciful. God’s love is the focus of His character. He is quick to love us, to the point of sending Jesus to save us. God’s ways are just and good because that is who He is. “I AM WHO I AM,” God told Moses, “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation” (Exodus 3:14-15). Yahweh is unchanging and everlasting.  His compassion abounds, and His anger is slow to swell.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Simon Lehmann

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