The Lord Reveals Himself to Moses
The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, "Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy!"
In Exodus 33, God communicated his extreme displeasure to Israel because of their idolatrous worship using the golden calf. He even said that he would no longer accompany the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. Most tried to persuade God to change his mind, and eventually the Lord promised to remain with Moses. In response, Moses asked, “Then show me your glorious presence” (33:18).
In Exodus 34, Moses returned to the top of Mt. Sinai. There the Lord appeared to him, revealing not only his glory, but also his name. “Yahweh,” which appears in English translations as “the LORD,” is related etymologically to the Hebrew verb “to be.” Thus it is a version of the name of God found in Exodus 3:14: “I AM WHO I AM” or, simply, “I AM.”
Yet in Exodus 34:6-7, God revealed, not just the sound of his name, but also his fundamental character. The name “Yahweh” points to “The God of compassion and mercy.” Yahweh, the LORD, is “slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” Yet he is also a God who holds people accountable for their guilt. The fact that God forgives does not negate his justice. Our behavior has real consequences, and sometimes these are quite painful.
Yet, in the end, the LORD’s compassion and mercy prevail. In Christ, the justice and love of God find their ultimate expression as the Word made flesh takes upon himself the penalty for our sins. Thus Jesus is the ultimate revelation of the LORD, the incarnation of Yahweh, the God of compassion, mercy, love, and justice.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you experienced God’s compassion and mercy in your life? How do you need to experience even more of God’s grace today?
PRAYER: All praise be to you, Lord, for your compassion and mercy!
All praise be to you, Lord, because you are slow to anger!
All praise be to you, Lord, because you are filled with unfailing love and faithfulness!
All praise be to you, Lord, because you lavish your love on a thousand generations!
All praise be to you, Lord, because you are a God of justice who does not ignore our sin!
All praise be to you, Lord, because your mercy and justice have met in Jesus Christ, who has taken our guilt and given us new life!
All praise be to you, Yahweh, LORD! Amen.