… and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness …

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Exodus 34

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “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 on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”(Exodus 34:5–7)

Dependability. What a joy it is to have someone you know you can rely upon, someone you know will hear you out even when you know you’ve been stupid. Someone you can trust, and someone you know has deep wells of affection for you. You can be yourself when you are with them, and don’t feel the need to put on a mask of competence. Someone who is dependable.

Such friends are rare, and a blessing when they can be found. That rocklike constancy is a refuge, and a great comfort. Such, my friend, is the character of God. He is “abounding” (abounding!) “in steadfast love and faithfulness”.

When we turn to God seeking mercy, we never find him empty-handed. When we come to God looking for forgiveness, we find the door is always open those who repent. When we raise our prayers to the heights, they echo in the divine presence. God is faithful. He is steadfast. He is loving.

All too often we ‘humanise” God, and think of him as someone who has fleeting moods. When we hold grudges, we think God must too. When we ignore people, we imagine God must be ready to turn his back on people too. Not so. God is faithful. He is steadfast. He is loving.

There is a great irony in the fact that we so infrequently fly to God in prayer, when we realise the reception which awaits us. You needn’t fear coming into the presence of a God in whom mercy “abounds”. The still pools of God’s steadfast love await you, the ear of one who is faithful awaits. Reluctance might be in our hearts, but never in God’s. So pray! So pour it all out.

God is faithful. And he hears

… slow to anger …

“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6) - That is the purpose of the patience, it is a merciful slowness to anger. Judgment is coming, but there is time to seek God’s mercy. Judgement is coming, but the judge has provided a way through. Christ awaits, arms outstretched. Will you repent?

Silent Night

Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child! Holy infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace! - Fame brings familiarity, and familiarity makes things flat. The words of the carol speak of the great intake of breath before the proclamation of the Gospel in the person of Christ. They are worth re-reading for the sense of calmness before Christ came to turn the world upside-down.

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