One day, a simple man of God, named Moses, made a humble request of his God. Picture this with me……Moses wants to know, encounter and experience God, so he asks Him to reveal Himself. Moses is desiring to understand and connect with his God. In the book of Exodus we see this amazing transaction.
As the Creator God, Elohim, passes in front of Moses, He makes a powerful declaration of who He is. The great I AM speaks…..”I am merciful, I am gracious, I am long-suffering and I am full of goodness and truth. I am merciful and keep mercy….and I forgive all iniquity, transgression and sin.”
I have paraphrased Exodus 34:6-7.
God has just shown Moses, and us, five beautifully tender aspects of Himself. God is merciful, compassionate/gracious, steadfast in love, tenaciously faithful, and forgiving. Through these, God wants us to experience and know Him. All through time, God has revealed Himself this way and the people of Israel, against all odds, did indeed experience Him thus way. And today, this is how you and I can enter in and have an encounter with the great I AM. Through this revelation and encounter with God, He grows us from the inside out. This is the unthinkable concept of grace!
Over and over, God describes Himself as having steadfast love for His people. Despite their unfaithfulness and failings, He reminds them of His unconditional love or covenant love extended to them. God always deals with His people, His creation, through the revelation of His name and nature.
You see my friend….God doesn’t just have love, HE IS love! God is His own reference point – I love that!
God’s faithfulness has never been dependent on our worthiness or readiness. He is faithful to His name and nature first and foremost. Since you and I can never keep our own right standing with God (righteousness), we constantly enter into and proclaim that HE is our righteousness, through the shed blood of Christ. He is our expression of love and faithfulness. His mercy is ours and we partake of His merciful nature. Remember, in Exodus that was the first attribute He declared to Moses – His mercy.
When you and I cry out for God’s mercy, it will always get answered because God cannot deny or ignore His very nature or essence.
In Ezekiel, God is speaking through the prophet and telling Israel He has had enough of their unfaithfulness and idolatry. In reading the entire text, you can see that He is fed-up with His people and reminds them of His anger towards them and their despicable behavior. The great I AM is in the processing of scattering them among all other people groups and nations as result of their rebellion. However, in the next instance we see God relenting, and having a very merciful moment. God makes a very tender statement – “I am not doing this for your sake, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name” (Ezekiel 36:22).
This, my friend, is restoration and divine justice. This is how a merciful God responds to His children.
Divine Love is not determined by the worthiness of its object, but by the total generosity towards its subject.
This is good news – by His grace I am saved!
“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3
Bill & Lisa Roitsch – ministers of transformation