16 But our ancestors acted arrogantly.
They were stubborn and wouldn’t obey your commandments.
17 They refused to obey,
and didn’t remember the wonders that you accomplished in their midst.
They acted arrogantly and decided to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But you are a God ready to forgive, merciful and compassionate,
very patient, and truly faithful.
You didn’t forsake them.
18 Even when they had cast an image of a calf for themselves,
saying, “This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,”
and holding you in great contempt,
I love scriptural texts like these. They allow me to breathe a bit deeper. I love texts that remind us that no matter what we do wrong, God is our ultimate source of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, patience, and faithfulness. No matter how much wrong we do, God’s love is bigger than any of it. No matter how full of ourselves we get, no matter how far we wander away from God, no matter the sin – God is always ahead of us. God may be rooting for our redemption ark but does not need that to offer compassion to us. Thank goodness.
God is our ultimate teacher and role model. Here, we see that even when people are being full of themselves, only thinking of their own wants and needs, God does not reciprocate with the same behavior. God responds with kindness. By God doing that, we have the opportunity to recognize it and choose better. We can offer the same in our own lives. Maybe a relationship we have is strained. Even if we don’t think the other person is acting mature enough or is willing to see your perspective well enough, we can respond with compassion. We can control our seat in the narrative.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
As we look at God’s example of compassion, how would you describe compassion? What examples come to mind when you think of that word?
Prayer: God of Compassion, even when we do not act the way we should, you show us great kindness. May we extend that same courtesy in our own lives. Amen.