God’s abundant mercy is the dominant theme of this prayer. It begins by exalting God and His glorious name (9:5) and then it starts where the Bible does, with God as the almighty Creator of everything, who gives life to every living creature. All the angels bow before Him (9:6). God chose Abram, brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name Abraham (9:7; the only Old Testament reference outside of Genesis to God’s changing Abram’s name). God made a covenant with Abraham to give him and his descendants the land of Canaan (9:8). God delivered His people from bondage in Egypt and provided for them in the wilderness (9:9-15). Note that God is the subject and the initiator throughout these verses.
Then, after recounting the arrogance and stubbornness of the people, they pray, “But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; and You did not forsake them” (9:17). Even when they made the golden calf, “You, in Your great compassion did not forsake them in the wilderness” (9:19). It continues to list the many gracious blessings that God conferred on His disobedient and ungrateful people (9:20-25). Yet in spite of their repeated rebellion, God’s compassion was greater (9:27, 28, 31).
This is the great news of the gospel, that no matter how awful and terrible and numerous your sins are, God’s grace is greater!