February 4 | Daily Devotion

February 4 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’” ~Exodus 34:6-6

Moses’ frustration with the Israelites’ stubbornness was so great that he smashed the stone tablets inscribed with God’s laws. This would be like your pastor standing before the entire church one Sunday morning and angrily ripping up the last remaining copy of Scripture while giving the congregation an old-fashioned tongue-lashing! Can you imagine? Moses disciplined the people, dealt with the ringleaders, and then headed back up the mountain to see what God had for him next. It is at this time that we read one of the most revealing “revelations” from God.

God says that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and that He forgives wickedness, rebellion, and sin (Ex. 34:6-7)! Wow! Yes, God even forgives the wicked, the rebellious, and the sinful. But what of the line “he does not leave the guilty unpunished”? And how about that frightening expression about punishing “the children and their children for the sins of the fathers”? The whole of Scripture reveals that while God forgives the wickedness of the genuinely penitent, He does not forgive those who persist in their wickedness! And when one generation after another continues to rebel (“like father like son, “ we might say with a shake of our heads), God will deal with each of them in turn![1]

The Israelites react to God’s patience and love with repentance. They turn from their wandering ways, and God shows them the compassion that He promised. God doesn’t expect perfection. (He is slow to anger, after all.) He issues another copy of Scripture for their guidance (repeating some of the same commands given earlier), and He tells them to build a beautiful place of worship. The people respond by bringing more than enough to meet the need. In fact, the artisans assigned to the work complain that there are too many materials!

Rejoice today in a God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. A God who even forgives your wickedness and rebellion! Yes, He deals harshly with those who do not repent, but He also exalts those who humble themselves (Matt. 23:12). Seek His forgiveness if you’ve messed up, even if you’ve messed up big time! Then rejoice in His compassion and delight in living your entire life as an offering of praise to Him (Rom. 12:1).

[1] Ezekiel 18 makes it clear that God deals with each generation based on their standing with Him.   No one can blame the “bad example’ of parents or grandparents.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.