Our Daily Bread 20th March 2020 Devotional – Slow for a Reason
TODAY’S TOPIC: SLOW FOR A REASON
Bible in a Year: Joshua 4–6, Luke 1:1–20
Key Verse: You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. – Nehemiah 9:17
Today’s Scripture Nehemiah 9:9, 13–21 (NIV)
9 “You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea.
13 “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.
14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.
15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.
16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands.
17 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,
18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.
19 “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.
20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.
Insight – Our Daily Bread 20th March 2020 Devotional
When the priests of Israel led their people in declaring their God to be slow to anger, they were reflecting together on a big and ancient story (Exodus 34:5–7). Looking up from the rubble of past mistakes, the “children” of Israel affirmed their trust in a God who remained patiently willing and able to help them—something He would do even as they suffered the consequences of the sins of their ancestors, the wrongs of their enemies, and their own deep regrets (Nehemiah 9:1–3).
Message (Our Daily Bread 20th March 2020 Devotional )
In the BBC video series The Life of Mammals, host David Attenborough climbs a tree to take a humorous look at a three-toed sloth. Getting face to face with the world’s slowest moving mammal, he greets it with a “boo!” Failing to get a reaction, he explains that going slow is what you do if you are a three-toed sloth living primarily on leaves that are not easily digested and not very nutritious.
In a rehearsal of Israel’s history, Nehemiah reminds us of another example and explanation for going slow (9:9–21), but this one isn’t comical. According to Nehemiah, our God is the ultimate example of going slow—when it comes to anger. Nehemiah recounted how God cared for His people, instructing them with life-giving laws, sustaining them on their journey out of Egypt and providing them with the Promised Land (vv. 9–15).
Although Israel constantly rebelled (v. 16), God never stopped loving them. Nehemiah’s explanation? Our Creator is by nature “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (v. 17). Why else would He have borne so patiently His people’s complaints, disbelief, and distrust for forty years? (v. 21). It was because of God’s “great compassion” (v. 19).
What about us? A hot temper signals a cold heart. But the greatness of God’s heart gives us room to patiently live and love with Him. By: Mart DeHaan
Reflect: In what areas of your life do you need to practice being slow to anger? How does it make you feel that God is slow to anger with you?
Today’s Prayer: Father in heaven, fill us with the Spirit of Your graciousness, compassion, mercy, and love so that others can see not just our restraint, but our love because of You.
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