Exodus 34 - Declaring and Demonstrating the Character of God
I love the picture we see of God in this passage. We see God declare and demonstrate his nature through his words and actions in this passage and even when his people sin and disobey the very laws he just set in place, God offers a new beginning.
God declares his name as Yahweh and his nature as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (v6). This passage is often quoted in other parts of scripture and these help us to understand that God is both forgiving and just; he does not leave the guilty unpunished. In the life of Moses we see that God is merciful and gracious, he demonstrates love and offers forgiveness to those who seek him and in the message of the gospel of Jesus we see this same God who forgives those who are repentant.
Not only does God declare his nature as compassion, gracious, forgiving and loving; he also demonstrates it in renewing the covenant with his people. The covenant is full of promises for what God will do for his people. He will write the commandments on the tablets (v1), he will make the covenant and he will do wonders (v10), and also drive out the nations before them (v11, 24). In response, God’s people need to be His people, fully committed to him, not joined with other nations, but devoted to what he has called them into. He desires their undivided love, the best of their offerings and their complete worship and devotion. He demonstrates a willingness to renew this covenant, despite their wickedness. He demonstrates by his actions that he is indeed a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithfulness, and forgiveness for those who would give Him their complete devotion.
We see these characteristics of God demonstrated again through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Once again, God offers mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness for those who would give him their complete devotion (1 John 4 is worth reflecting on). Today, how do we respond to God as he demonstrates and declares to us that he is a “compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”?