September 20, 2021

Exodus 34:5-7a
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…”

Our passage today shows God describing himself to Moses, and it’s interesting that this same wording is repeated multiple times in the Old Testament. This is an important text – God wants us to accurately understand who He is and what He is like. I’ve always loved this passage’s emphasis on God’s compassion, His “abounding in love”. I particularly love the reminder of His great patience as He is “slow to anger”. That has really helped me remember God isn’t just up in heaven monitoring me closely, waiting for me to make my next misstep!

But if I’m honest, I’ve never really liked the last part, when God mentions His justice: “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…”. Why does He include that, I’ve wondered? Part of me just wants to protest. “Why do you even have to bring justice up, God? Can’t we just focus on love? That’s the part that feels good!” Well, no, we can’t just focus on love. God’s justice is just as important, just as foundational to who God is as His love. But we don’t like to think about that part nearly as much.

As we consider God’s justice this week, let’s consider: What does God’s justice mean to you? How has God’s justice intersected with your life? Do you ever consider God’s justice in your day-to-day life? Let’s ask God today to open our eyes anew about His character of justice, and what that means in particular for you and the community around you.
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