Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

The God of the Old Testament

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

When you reflect on the God of the Old Testament what comes to mind?

For many, their impression is a God who has a short fuse, who is never far off from an outburst that can wipe out a nation or two.

Why do some think like that?

Perhaps it’s because of all those passages in the prophets where the Lord is threatening judgment, and they can leave a sour taste and a smell of death.

When I read Psalm 103 I get an entirely different perspective on the Old Testament’s God.

‘The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.’ (v. 8).

This is a truth often expressed in the Old Testament. For example,

‘Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’ (Exodus 34:5–7).

The Lord will punish the guilty, but even in this should we not see the Lord's mercy?

He delays judgment, which may be postponed for years or even decades. On the first signs of genuine repentance, He turns from wrath, for the Lord is "slow to anger, abounding in love."

Strict justice would be immediate. But the truth is that God...

‘…does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.’ (Psalm 103:10).


‘As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.’ (v. 13–14).

It is almost as if this God is looking for reasons to be as forbearing as possible. After all He knows our make up and that we are prone to sin.

In our guilt before a holy God, what we need most of all is to be forgiven all our sins. And this is what the God of the Old Testament does for us. He,

‘…forgives all your sins’ (v. 3)


‘as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’ (v. 12)

With this assurance we can know that,

‘…from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him…’ (v. 17)

No wonder this Psalm is full of praise for the God of the Old Testament (v. 1–2, 20–22).

Does knowing that this God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, forgiving of our sins and loving towards us, change our view of the Old Testament deity?

If so, let’s join with David and,

‘Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.’ (v. 1)

Have a praise filled week,

Pastor Barry

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