In my last post I shared from a journal I started back in 1995, a few months after we moved to West Virginia to start our work in community development, serving the people of McDowell County. Earlier in that year I had begun reading through the Bible, taking my time, absorbing not only the magnitude of the span of history I was reading about, but also pondering the depth of what was written. I wrote:
“As I read I realized how little I truly understand and grasp of the spiritual realm. To ‘walk’ through these pages of Holy Writ is an exercise in humility. It helps me put things into perspective.”
Today, in 2016, I still feel that way about the Bible! As I now write a Bible study guide to accompany my book, Brokenness to Beauty, I am constantly reminded when I read a verse or passage of Scripture, how amazingly relevant and applicable it is to our lives today.
From my journal:
“One of my most favorite passages is in Exodus 34:5-8. Here God fulfilled Moses’ demand/request to see God. Though he only saw God’s “backside” because of his great glory, the LORD proclaimed himself to Moses:
The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’ Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.
This just struck me as so powerful! This is who God is. He himself declared it. It is quoted almost directly, in part, in a couple of psalms. I’m sure I’ll see it quoted in other books of the Bible as I read through it (I have).”
This passage, in which God tells Moses who he is and reveals as much of his glory as a human being can bear and still live, is to me one of those pinnacle moments in God’s revelation of himself to mankind. He declares who he is and what he is like, then throughout Scripture we witness how he proves it by his actions.
Compassionate and gracious. Slow to anger. Abounding in lovingkindness. Abounding in truth. He keeps lovingkindness for thousands. He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. But he will mete out judgment for the guilty.
Think on these truths about God. May we make haste and bow low in worship of this Awe-inspiring God, as Moses did! Then get up and serve him faithfully the rest of our days.