Friday, October 7, 2011

Exodus 34:6-7:

‏ וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר יְהוָ֥ה ׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֮ וַיִּקְרָא֒ יְהוָ֣ה ׀ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת
(And the Lord passed by before him and He called out: 'The LORD, the LORD, a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abundant in covenant-love and truth.')

We often see in our New Testaments the phrase "just as it is written" that recalls an OT text that the NT author cites. But let's not forget that the OT writers were just as saturated in the Word as well. Another fascinating study is to see how the OT uses the OT.

I'm preaching on Ps 117 this Sunday and a phrase occurs there that clearly refers back to Ex 34:6-7. A number of important truths can be spoken of regarding this excellent text:

1) The Lord declares His own character in Ex 34:6-7. It is not another telling us about God; these are the words of the LORD about Himself.

2) The Lord is a compassionate God. He is compassionate towards those who are His in a very specific, particular, and fatherly way. Because of the Lord's compassions we are not consumed.

3) The Lord is a gracious God. When we were in a state of misery and utter helplessness, God showed divine grace toward us. Grace is God's lavishing undeserved compassion and mercy upon sinners that deserve just the opposite.

4) The Lord is slow to anger. The phrase (אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם) literally reads: "long of nose." He has a high patience-level. God displays His patience towards us daily. We sin, rebel, flaunt our self-sufficiency and pride constantly yet God is slow to anger. He does not treat us as our sins deserve.

5) The Lord is abundant in steadfast, covenant-keeping love. This is more than just "love." This is the covenant-keeping, steadfast, unconditional, unbreakable, unilateral, unrestrained kind of love. God has this love for His people. The amazing thing is that we sin against Him and yet He still is faithful in his love for us.

6) The Lord is abundant in truth. Everything about the Lord is truth. He encapsulates what is true. He Himself is the true God. There is only one true God. And that is the God revealed in the Word of God. Everything that is opposed to what the true word of God reveals about the one true God is opposed to God and therefore false. God is the standard for what is right and true for He is, in Himself, the essence of truth.

Therefore, let's glory in this great, sovereign, and powerful God we worship & serve.

Psalm 117:1-2 sums it up well:
Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!

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