The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
One favorite current approach to avoiding God is to demote him to a “force”. Forces seem much safer because they are impersonal. They don’t look us in the eye. They don’t confront us with ourselves. They don’t demand we change. The problem with this approach is that, despite our best attempts to avoid that look in the eye, we sometimes have to face it anyway—from our wounded spouse, our bitter children, our betrayed friend, our mirror in the morning. And when that look in the eye assails us we can be trapped in our own devices, for Forces not only don’t confront us, they can’t forgive us either. Only a Person can forgive. And so, the beauty of today’s reading shines through. God convicts us of sin, to be sure. But he does so, not to condemn us, but to forgive us and pour out the riches of his mercy. Turn to him to today and ask for that mercy. He will surely give it. It’s the whole reason he died on the cross and rose again!