The LORD Reveals Himself

* Old Testament Reading: Exodus 33 & 34
Psalms Reading: Psalm 43
New Testament Reading? Romans 13

Those silly Israelites. Even when God demonstrates His power in huge and miraculous ways like splitting the sea in half so they could walk across, they STILL forget and worship other gods. I would never be like that if I were an Israelite! … or would I? Sometimes, I forget God’s faithfulness and love too, and am tempted to wander from Him. I’m betting you have been like me and the Israelites at different seasons of life as well. 

Yesterday, in Genesis 32, we read about Moses bringing the Ten Commandments down from the mountain, only to find his people worshiping a golden calf they had made, claiming it was a god who had delivered them from Egypt. Aghast, Moses drops the two tablets and lectures the people! Moses pleads forgiveness for the Israelites, and God agrees to continue leading them toward the promised land. As a punishment, however, a great plague comes upon the people. 

In chapter 33, God commands the people to leave Sinai. Moses has a meeting with God, in which he asks for God’s presence to lead them and requests to see God – this wish is granted, but God only allows Moses to see his back. In chapter 34, Moses takes two new tablets to the presence of the LORD. As the LORD passes by, He says as a renewal of His covenant to the people (and a verse which is quoted many more times throughout the Bible), “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 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 upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6,7 RSV)

This passage starts out as hope-filled and encouraging, right? We see God, YHWH, describe himself as full of mercy and grace, not easily angered, overflowing with love and faithfulness, and forgiving… But He will enforce consequences for sin. These verses show us that while God is merciful, he is also just. (I’ll link below a short video that I think provided a lovely explanation of these verses).  

After this meeting, God offers forgiveness and renews his covenant with his people. He reminds them of His best ways to live, and when Moses returns from the mountain after 40 days and nights with God, he is physically glowing!

The last half of Romans 13 ties in nicely in that it restates many of the same ten commandments! Paul reminds the people of Rome that the root of the commandments is actually love, and loving your neighbor as yourself. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is fulfilling the law.” (Romans 13:12, The Message). 

If we truly love God and love people, and show it with our actions toward them, we will be fulfilling the law and living more like God intended us to live. 

-Rachel Cain


  1. Watch this video to learn more about the interpretation and poetic nature of verses 6 and 7:
  2. Who would you treat differently if you truly love your neighbor as yourself? 
  3. What does God reveal about Himself in your reading of His words today? How would you describe God to a child – or to a co-worker?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: