Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Who Does God Say He Is?
I’ve been intrigued with the triangle that the Lord showed me during Holy Week this year. The three points of it are His Name, His Timing and His Character: all are eternal and complete. I’ve written on His Name: the Great I AM and his timing: yesterday, today and forever, and so today, I will complete the triangle by reflecting on his character.
What characteristics would you use to best describe God?
This morning I read Exodus 34 where after Moses told God that he didn’t want to lead the people anymore unless God gave his him presence and his glory and went before him. Quite a challenge, right? Well, when Moses was up on the mountain receiving God’s revelation of the 10 Commandments, his trusted brother Aaron collected gold from the people and made an idol for them to worship.
Moses was so frustrated and disappointed that he threw the very tablets of the 10 Commandments to the ground, shattering them into pieces. No wonder Moses was clear with the Lord, “I am not going to do this spiritual leadership anymore unless you are present and in charge.”
Here’s what happened next: (Exodus 34):
1 The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. 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 God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.”
I find it really interesting that when Moses was at a real low point in his leadership and he needed encouragement, the Lord chose those certain characteristics to speak to Moses about himself.
He started with his name, “The Lord, the Lord: spoken two times. Speaking the eternal and complete name of God—renewing his triangle of completeness of name, timing and characteristics.
He then described his qualities starting with compassion and mercy. He was reminding Moses that although Moses was fit to be tied with those that he led, God was filled with compassion and mercy, which resulted in giving the Israelites another chance.
He continues to describe himself as slow to anger, filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Another word to describe unfailing is steadfast, which is the ability to never waver, to always know that you will come through to bring forth the best for the people you love.
God never wavered in his decision to send Jesus to the world as the perfect sacrifice for sin. Even when the people with whom he had just done miracle upon miracle forgot who he was in just 40 short days, God was filled with unfailing love and faithfulness toward them.
We may forget but God never forgets. We may turn away, but God never turns away from us. In fact, his next statement involves us: he tells Moses, “I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.” We are that thousand generation: those that he long awaited to lavish his grace, mercy, compassion and love upon because he forgives inquity, rebellion and sin.
Have you ever experienced God in the way that Moses did at that point in his life?
Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel because you just didn’t see the point?
Have you gotten so frustrated with those around you that you were more focused on their short comings than God’s loving faithfulness and forgiveness?
It’s not hard to do, is it?
It all comes down to where we choose to focus.
If we focus on the behavior of other people; we are looking down and will most likely come to a place of great discouragement, possibility even wanting to throw in the towel.
However, if we look up, we will see the glorious face of God in all his completeness: his Name, his character and his eternal timing. Moses chose to go back up the mountain and receive the 10 Commandments again. He chose to stop worrying about the people and their short comings and instead, looked to God as the One he needed to worry about.
Moses got to experience the glory of God because he chose to look up. He received the promise of God’s presence and power going with him into every situation. He didn’t give up. He persevered and got to experience God in a deeper way because of his unwillingness to throw in the towel and walk away.
Where do you need to look up today? Where are you looking at circumstances or people and letting them decide your frame of mind?
Take a few minutes to focus on the Great I AM, who is the Same today, tomorrow and yesterday, who is full of compassion and mercy, faithfulness and unfailing steadfast love throughout all eternity. See if your vision doesn’t clear and the challenge before you is reframed into God’s viewpoint. Then, celebrate that you are standing in good company, like all the heroes of faith who have come before you!