Before we dive into today’s scripture, we need to note that this passage is not just someone talking about God & His attributes. This is God describing Himself to Moses. Just like in a job interview, “Tell me about yourself,” can be more illuminating than an applicant’s resume’. (Aside: When an applicant was asked the difference between a Mcf & MMBtu & what an MMBtu means, one respondent simply said, “It means I don’t get the job.”)
In honor of today’s reference to the Ten Commandments, we’ll list the 10 things we learn about God in today’s scripture reading.
I. Due to our broken nature, we cannot survive in His presence. Thus, we have all of the carefully detailed rituals to approach the Holy of Holies & the Ark of the Covenant. But, thanks to Christ’s incredible act of sacrificial love, you and I can enjoy the presence of God.
II. He is a God of second chances. The tablets, which were destroyed in anger, are re-created.
III. He is full of mercy & compassion. This is quite the headline for Moses & the Israelites. The gods (small g) of their culture were known for their pettiness, their greediness, & their vindictiveness.
IV. One glance at our world (& our lives) confirms that God is indeed slow to anger. His patience is a wonder.
V. Considering Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we can confirm that His love knows no bounds.
VI. Realizing the seriousness in which He approaches the covenants with His children, God is indeed abounding in faithfulness. This is no small matter. In a world where contracts & promises seem to be only temporary, it is of great comfort to recognize that He will forever honor His covenants.
VII. His love is great enough for everyone who chooses to believe & follow Him. Take a glance at the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). Jesus describes all of the people who will be blessed by God. Note, they aren’t just the rich, the popular, or the well connected. His love is also for those who are struggling, who mourn, who have no hope. Good news!
VIII. He will forgive wickedness, rebellion & sin. Ah, the big one. “Rebellion” sure seems an accurate description for much of our behavior. Perhaps we look to so many other gods (money, appearance, physical fitness, & career) for fulfillment, until we inevitably realize they just don’t work. Pastor Adam described this sensation in a sermon several years ago, noting that we have a “God-shaped hole” in our hearts. Everything else may temporarily fill the gap, but ultimately they will all fall tragically short. Perhaps we should quit chasing “the next big thing” and just come home.
IX. There are still consequences for behavior outside the bounds. We can be forgiven & we can be washed anew, but the guilty will still face some punishment. We know this from our life experiences.
X. We are part of God’s family. I can’t think of a better description of God’s love for us. He is our Father. We are His children. He loves us. So be it.