Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Exodus
“And He (the Lord) 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”. Exodus 34:6-7a
Most unbelievers, and unfortunately a number of Christians, mistakenly believe that the New Testament God is all about love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, while the Old Testament God is all about judgment, holiness, harshness, cruelty, law, and wrath. They couldn’t be further from the truth. The Old Testament – from Genesis through Malachi – is filled with God’s mercy towards His children and His desire for His people to walk in obedience so that all will go well for them. And if you want to talk about apparent harshness – just look what Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22,
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
Hmm, Old Testament – murder is an act deserving judgment; New Testament – just being inappropriately angry with someone is an act deserving judgment! Still think the Old Testament is harsher than the New Testament? There’s a whole other explanation of the differences between the Old and the New Testaments, and this brief note isn’t concerning that point. But with the verse that I have chosen from Exodus – an Old Testament book – we see what a gracious and loving God we really have.
First off, this verse concerns Moses’ desire to see the Lord face to face. That’s a pretty bold and presumptuous request by Moses, especially because Moses already knows that ‘no man shall see God and live’. But the Lord in His mercy allows Moses to see His ‘backside’, whatever that may be, so we see that the Lord isn’t going to pass condemnation on Moses for the request, nor for seeing a bit of the Lord.
Secondly, as the Lord is passing by Moses He doesn’t proclaim “The LORD, the LORD, the holy, just, righteous, Judge of all the earth God….”, even though all of those characteristics are true of the Lord’s nature! Instead, the LORD reminds Moses that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin!
That’s one amazing God that we serve! Oh sure, He’s holy, holy, holy, and He will judge the earth and all its inhabitants who are not in Christ, AND He will discipline His children when they walk in disobedience, but God’s grace and mercy shines from the Lord’s nature towards those who belong to Him. Let us love and worship this great and compassionate Lord with all of our heart, mind, and soul, for He is indeed worthy!