“Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’” (Exodus 34:6–7, NASB95)
I think I emphasize often enough how important it is to listen when God is speaking. But when God is speaking about Himself, it is vitally important to listen. In these verses you have God passing in front of Moses on Mt. Sinai speaking about Himself. He is describing His character. So, let’s take note and listen. “The Lord God (Yahweh Elohim).” These words, not often used together, provide this passage a tremendous amount of spiritual punch. He is compassionate and gracious. The first thing God says about Himself is not that He is almighty or perfect. He describes agape. He loves us!
Because He loves us, He is slow to anger. Oh, yes, He can get angry! But His anger arises only when His compassion and grace have been completely rejected. His anger arises as an alien characteristic because of our stiff-necked rebellion. The anger is unleashed in discipline so that we might repent and turn from our sinfulness and return to His truth. He abounds in truth. If you want to know what the truth about something is, turn to God, not to CNN or FOX News. He forgives transgressions, iniquities and sin. He is quick to set aside His anger for grace and forgiveness. He does all of this for thousands of generations who love and fear Him.
But ultimately, the guilty (the unrepentant) will not go unpunished. There is a day of reckoning for all people. That is when we die or when Jesus returns.
Today, let’s number ourselves among the thousands who live repentant lives. Let’s bask in the grace, lovingkindness, compassion and truth of God’s character.