3/6 Exodus 34:6-7

6 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, 7 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 the fourth generation."

This is the LORD'S self-description to Moses. Moses had gone back up Sinai for another miraculous forty days without food or water. The LORD descended in the pillar of cloud and described Himself with these words. LORD is our translation of the four letters in Hebrew "YHWH," meaning "the eternal One."

"Merciful" is to not give others what they deserve. "Gracious" is to give out of the goodness of one's heart regardless of the attitude or actions of the recipient. This was so unlike the gods that the nations worshiped. They saw their gods as vengeful and always seeking to be pleased by gifts. They would plead for mercy and grace from these gods but only expected it because of gifts, not from the goodness or graciousness in the god's heart.

"Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" is the description of God we see most often throughout the old covenant. The kings, prophets, and psalmists would often plead to God on the basis of these character qualities. They would attribute good things in their lives to these attributes.

Forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin shows us God wants to forgive. If we will simply confess our sins and turn from them, He has provided a way in Christ Jesus that we can be forgiven. But if we will not, He cannot simply look the other way or He would be evil. A judge that lets the wrongdoer go free without punishment is complicit in the evil. The evil a man commits will affect future generations.

This description is one of the perfect, eternal, creator of all that is. We should acknowledge these attributes of His when we see them expressed toward us in our lives. Thank Him for His mercy and grace. Plead with Him according to His steadfast love and faithfulness. Notice the way these are expressed toward you. Thank Him for His willingness to forgive your sins and for making that possible through Jesus. Keep the fear of His justice always before you.

Prayer: Thank you LORD for your perfect character. Help me to express Your mercy, grace, steadfast love, faithfulness, and forgiveness to all whom I meet.