Monday, 4 May 2020
Question of the day: What is one of King David's favorite lines found in Psalm 103?
Answer: Psalm 103:8 "Adonai is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and plentiful in mercy."
This verse is found in other places of Scripture including Psalm 145:8. Interesting it is verse 8 in both Psalms. This wording first appears in the Torah, Exodus 34:6. It is what Moses heard as he was protected in the cleft of the rock. Later, Moses quotes it back to God (reminding God of His own character) in Numbers 14:18.
This same description for God is found in Nehemiah (9:17), another Psalm (86:15), Joel (2:13), Jonah (4:2), and Nahum (1:3). Do you see why it caught my attention? It is a ubiquitous description for God's character. It is also found in 3 consecutive chapters of Proverbs as a favorable description for a man (Proverbs 14:29,15:18, 16:32). Do you suppose God wants us to be like Him?
Recognizing the compassion of God is critical to living in His love. God loves you. That He is slow to anger is a benefit to us all. Why did so many of the prophets pray these words? It's not likely that God forgot how compassionate He is. The prophets, themselves, needed to hear and be reminded of God's mercy, and so do we.
"Plentiful in mercy" is a good translation of Rav Chesed. Rav is the Shoresh for the title "rabbi." It means "one who has an abundance." The title doesn't really say an abundance of what, and I don't want you to stray too far from my point in offering your own thoughts. My point is that God is the One Who is slow to anger and abundant in mercy. Let's appreciate Who He is, and pursue Him with a desire to be more like Him.
Shalom, Rabbi Michael.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,