In Proverbs 3:3, the son is instructed to not forsake steadfast love and faithfulness. As we will continue to see, the wisdom of Proverbs is a wisdom rooted in the fear of the LORD and reflective of the wisdom of the LORD. While the son (and all of us) needs this admonition, the LORD needs nothing of the kind. Steadfast love and faithfulness are descriptors of His very character, as described for us in Exodus 34.
Wednesday, July 17th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Exodus 33 - 34:9
Focused Passage for Reflection - Exodus 33:18 - 34:9
Reflecting on the Text:
Moses wanted to see God’s glory. It was a bold request. He had talked to the LORD and he wanted to see Him. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to actually see the glory of the LORD?!? Or so we think. The LORD knew that Moses could not see His glory and live, but He graciously decided to give Him a glimpse.
Exodus 34:6-7 describes for us the glimpse Moses was given, but this glimpse was not what he, or we, may have imagined. The picture was a picture of words. The LORD described His glory by describing Himself to Moses.
“The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.’”
In response to Moses’ request, the LORD described Himself, because His character is His glory…and it is glorious.
If you were with us last Sunday in worship, maybe you noticed something about the passage written above. The passage speaks of the LORD, with all the letters capitalized. This is the way modern Bible translators have chosen to capture the covenant name of the LORD…Yahweh. We spoke of the importance of His name in the opening chapter of Proverbs. Here, the LORD repeats His name twice…emphasizing the covenantal relationship He has initiated with His people. Throughout the Scripture He speaks of this covenant by declaring to His people, “You will be my people, and I will be your God.”
Do you hear the relational emphasis in this? And that relational emphasis is emphasized in His name…Yahweh. So then as the LORD goes on to describe His glory, He uses a phrase we mentioned above: steadfast love and faithfulness. How glorious is it that when the LORD describes His glory, He does so using the words “steadfast love and faithfulness” as a descriptor of His character! He is telling Moses that at His essence, He is a God of steadfast love and faithfulness.
This is a vitally important passage in the Old Testament because it captures the essence of God. Maybe you heard and were encouraged. But maybe you also heard something else, and were concerned? The LORD went on to describe His character by describing his action toward the guilty. So who are the guilty?
All are guilt of sin. None are righteous, no not one. But the LORD forgives, as we heard in the description of His glory. So who are the guilty? They are those who reject the Lord. They refuse to trust in Him. And by their steadfast refusal, they evidence the fact that they are not His people. Their hearts remain on self, focused in sin.
When you put all of this together, you begin to understand the picture of the LORD’s glory, particularly in the context of relationship. He is a God of steadfast love and faithfulness, toward HIS COVENANT PEOPLE. Toward His people, He is fiercely loyal and loving. He is merciful and forgiving. Yet, He is fearsome toward His enemies.
This is who He is. This is the picture of His glory.
Questions for personal reflection:
How does Exodus 34:6-7 give you a new vision for the glory of God?
In what ways are you encouraged by hearing that the LORD is fiercely loyal and loving toward His people?
This week, consider how this description of God’s glory connects to the descriptions of God’s wisdom found in Proverbs.