Think about the last time you were asked this question. I don’t mean the last time a preacher said it and you nodded and continued to take notes or try not to fall asleep. I mean the last time someone specifically asked this question to you, either by wanting to know your answer or any answer at all. This is one of those questions that you really do need to think about while you begin/continue to live in the life of a disciple. So let’s dive in!
Who is God? I want you to think about your immediate answers.
The Bible has much to say about who God is. 1 John 1:5 says “God is light; there is no darkness in Him.” Psalm 18:30 claims this: “As for God, His ways are perfect. The Lord’s work is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” It’s amazing to see the ways that the writers of the Word describe God. I think it’s important to remember, too, that many of these writers did not have an easy life. Of course, no one has an “easy life” when we live in an imperfect world. Yet, they still knew that God was perfect and mighty. God’s ways were perfect even during their struggles, God’s ways are perfect even during our struggles, and God’s ways will be perfect even when we struggle.
God is light, God is love, and God is wonderful. God also does not shy away from those who deliberately sin and disobey, but expects them to repent from those ways. He is exact, and he knows the ins and outs of your mind and heart. He wants you to learn, and experience, and understand more! So maybe learning and realizing that God’s love equals mercy, justice, truth, bravery, honor, power, and hope. He condemns those who scorn and mock and disobey. He grants salvation for those who believe in Jesus Christ, follow His ways, and give their life to God.
“The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”
-Exodus 34:5-7 (ESV)
This passage happens while Moses is waiting for the Lord who promised Moses that he will see His back as He passed by. It is a very powerful moment in the scriptures, and there are so many other increments to the story, however, I’m focusing on this passage in Exodus typed above. I think there are some amazing things going on right here within these two verses.
1. God is speaking about himself because He is the I am. He is saying, “listen, dudes, I am this mighty God that created you and loves you and wants you to want me. When God first begins to speak to Moses in verse 6, he claims “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” He’s showing his loving nature as our Father and our guide. He is providing the framework of how we are supposed to act, and how we are supposed to recognize him while worshipping him. I’m SO GLAD we do not worship a god who has not clearly put into words how wonderful he is. Our God tells us so we can understand, and so we can share this information with others (we will touch more on that topic later).
2. Verse 7 starts telling us his power and his perfection. He keeps the steadfast love for thousands and thousands and forgives all of them. Then, the passage goes on to say that He won’t “clear the guilty.” We will discuss sin later, but God is just telling it point-blank that He loves all and welcomes all, but will not clear the sin of someone who completely disobeys His Word, hears but doesn’t listen, and mocks others. He doesn’t clear those who commit against His commandments and doesn’t clear those who don’t ask for forgiveness. It’s important to recognize that His love is spread throughout everything and everyone, however when His love is rejected, He seems to turn His face away from that person due to that person's sin. He is displaying His ultimate power because He tells us, essentially, that He has the last words. Aren’t you glad we worship a God who is clear on His promises, keeps them, and clear with His love?
3. Even after we sin and read this last section, we know that God is graceful in the fact that He sent His Son for us to pay the price of that guilt and shame. We are called to repent and believe that God is a God of grace and mercy, too.
After reading this passage, how has your perception changed from who God is?
When you continue throughout your day, remember these words, these scriptures. Understand that His Word will never decay, will never change, and are incredibly true. Sometimes we can wonder about what we will do, what will come to us, and we can get so caught up in our own bubble. I challenge you to just focus on what God can do and who God is rather than what you can do and your own understanding of the Lord.
Let God take over, and see what happens.