Tuesday, July 27, 2010

THIS is the LORD!

This is the LORD your GOD.

Exodus 34:5-7
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

I am sometimes confused when people read something about God in the Old Testament and state to me that God is wrathful, angry and mean. Some of them even say that they can't follow a God like that. I simply tell them they have a warped sense of who God is. Anyone can go through and pick out verses which seem to support their prejudicial views, but when taken in it's entirety, we see that the anger and wrath that God displays in the Old Testament was in direct response to people's sins and their unforgiving and obstinate ways. Anger is not part of God's character. In other words, that does not define who He is.

The verse above, I think, exhibits the normative Old Testament theology of God's character. He is a God who shows compassion and is loving. The Old Testament translation of the NASB gives it a word of "Lovingkindess" The LORD's 'Hessed' as it is called in Hebrew. Roughly translated in New Testament as the LORD's 'agape' love toward us.

The New Testament expands on this knowledge of the LORD's love for all people, but especially 'His children'. People, like the Old Testament Hebrew nation who were chosen as His very own. Not because we are so great, but because he loves us with a love beyond our imagination.

How much does the LORD love his people? Enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place. A place which we rightly should have occupied. Because of His sacrifice, I can know that my sins are forgiven and because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I can know that I have been adopted into His family and His dwelling place.

Is that a God of wrath, anger and revenge? No. But do not be mislead. There will be a time of wrath and justice for those who have not accepted His Son into their lives. God's justice can be delayed, as it is now, while people around the world are given the choice to follow His ways or not, but God's justice will not be denied. His word will come to fruition.

What about you? What choice have you made? Read both the Old Testament and New Testament with an open mind and heart. I am confident that you will make the right decision.

Blessings all!