God Promises an Awesome Thing
Key Verse: “The LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”
THE SCENE OF OUR LESSON is set once again on Mt. Sinai. Moses had been called back up to the presence of God to receive the second tables of the law. Unlike the first time, Moses was instructed by God to make the tables, and to come to the mountain in the morning alone. “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables.” (Exod. 34:1,2) This visit to the mountain was permitted by God as an answer to a prayer that Moses had offered on behalf of the children of Israel.
Prior to this event, the Lord God came to the tabernacle and appeared in a ‘cloudy pillar’ as he talked with Moses after he had pitched the tent of meeting outside of the camp. (chap. 33:9) The people had seen Moses go to the tabernacle, and after observing him enter, and when also seeing the cloudy pillar they worshipped God. “The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (vs. 11) “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight, and consider that this nation is thy people.” (Exod. 33:13) In addition to this petition made by Moses, he also asked God for a vision to help him accomplish the renewed task of leading the people to the promised land of Canaan. The request was granted to the man Moses by a gracious God. “The Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” (vss. 21,22) God actually had one of his special messengers represent him—the angel of the Lord would appear—since “no man [can] see me, and live.”—vs. 20
Now, as we go back to the awesome thing that God promised, we will see that it involves a loving Heavenly Father revealing himself to his people through his attributes of wisdom, justice, love, and power. “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.” (Isa. 63:7) He particularly states in our key verse the fact that he is ‘The Lord, the Lord God,’ and that he is full of grace, mercy, goodness, and truth. It would serve as a reaffirmation that God was with them, and he would indeed bless them, and through his chosen people bring blessings to all the families of the earth.—Gen. 28:14
Think for a moment of the memory of God that never fails; of the judgment that never errs, of the wisdom which has planned for an eternity without the possibility of failure, and of having the power to make all things work together for the accomplishment of his grand design. Truly, “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”—Ps. 145:8