God's Faithful Love and Holiness
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”
Moses had just been through some major craziness - God miraculously brings Israel out of Egypt, leads them to a mountain where He can invite them to know Him and be His people, and gives them the 10 Commandments through Moses so that they can learn how to flourish as humans in relationship with God. Before Moses can come down the mountain and give them to the people, they are already breaking most of if not all of God's beautiful laws! (Exodus 32)
Moses, in a fit of anger in seeing the people already breaking God's laws, throws the first tablets down and breaks them! Can you see a pattern here? The people have a horrible sin problem. Even the leaders of God's people have a sin problem that has to be addressed!
Moses spends time with God (Exodus 33), and God tells Moses that He won't deal with a people who won't listen to Him or follow Him. Moses pleads with God that He wouldn't give up on them, and as He does, He asks God to show him His glory. Though Moses can't see God with his eyes, God's talking to him. And as Moses realizes just how loving yet holy and perfect this God is, he wants to know more about Him. And God tells Moses that he can't see all of God's glory - it would kill him! So God promises to show Moses His glory by hiding Moses in the cleft of a rock and then passing by him (spoiler alert - Gospel reference to Jesus hiding us in His own side through the crucifixion... That's the only way we can come to God, through the Son of God crucified for our sins!)
So God gives Moses a new set of tablets, and as He does, He reveals the glory of who He is by further revealing His names - names that reveal His amazing covenantal, faithful, merciful love for us - but also His holiness that must address our sin. Thankfully, He's addressed our sin in Christ. But we still must also learn about His holiness so that we will learn to hate sin like He does - sin robs us of life and enslaves us so that we can't enjoy God and our relationship with Him. Sin has a multi-generational effect from great grandparent to great grandchild potentially - but God's grace and love in our lives has an eternal effect - literally, to "thousands" of generations! And any generational issues can be healed through our relationship with Christ!
There's a lot to think about there, too much to put in a blog post, but hopefully that tees up a good time of meditating on God's names so that in prayer, we can come to Him with awe and respect for a Holy God who hides us in Jesus so that we can enjoy Him forever!
Can you see why Jesus told us to "hallow" or "holy-ize" or revere God's name in the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6)? God's names highlight who He is and how we should relate to Him.
And God's final "name" by which we can see His glory is... you guessed it (hopefully), Jesus!
Hebrews 1:1-4 1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift to us in and through Jesus!
Come back later for further thoughts on God's names and how they fuel our prayer life!