Keep Taking the Tablets!
Gracious Lord, it is to You I look as my creator, helper and guide. Reveal more of Yourself to me today.
Read Exodus 34:1-14
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Israelites had to learn lessons through trial and failure. How has God spoken to you through trials and failure and what new truths did you learn?
Despite Israel’s disobedience, God renews the broken covenant, rewriting the words of faith on the tablets of stone and the hearts of the people. Israel’s failure leads to greater understanding of God’s love, faithfulness and justice. Even when Israel sinned, God used those failures to teach them and us new truths. Not just by miracles and commandments, but by discipline and restoration the character of the people of God is formed, as we learn the lessons of discipline and discipleship.
But who is this God who will give his people a second chance, but will also punish them with loving rebuke? Jewish people recite and meditate on these “thirteen attributes of God” regularly throughout the year (6,7). When people say, as did Marcion, a second-century heretic, that the God of the Old Testament is a god of wrath but the New Testament God is a god of love, they need to reflect on this passage. Here God’s characteristics of love and mercy are held in perfect tension with his judgment of sin.
Knowledge of God begins with knowing his name, the inscrutable, unpronounceable, sacred name–YHWH. The four Hebrew letters were probably vocalized as “Yahweh” (not “Jehovah,” a combination of the vowels and consonants of two different words). I was brought up never to pronounce this name, and I am still uncomfortable at the way God’s name is spoken so casually and unthinkingly. In Hebrew thought, to know someone’s name is to have a personal relationship that is deep and intimate with another, just as I call my wife “sweetheart” in a way that expresses our relationship of love. To know the name YHWH and its meaning (“I am” or “God–it is he”), is to know intimately and personally the power, authority and saving power of the Almighty.
How do you understand the meaning of God’s name? List out God’s attributes from this passage and pray for them to be a reality in your life and ministry today.
Mighty God, Your name is above every name. There is power, victory and strength in Your name. I lift high Your name today, and go forward in confidence, knowing You are with me.