You’ve done it a thousand times. You meet someone for the first time and introduce yourself by telling them what you do. “I’m Julie, a stay-at-home mom.” “I’m George, I do mechanic work.” Who we are and what we do are inextricably linked.
Remember God’s promise to Moses? When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. Moses arrived at the mountain and God announced himself by sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning. A trumpet announced his arrival; smoke billowed from the mountain. God made good on his promise to Moses.
But the people blew it. While Moses was on the mountain, they returned to their Egyptian ways, threw their gold into a fire, melted it down and made a golden calf. Music blaring, they worshiped the calf and forgot the God who brought them out of Egypt, who parted the Red Sea, who drowned Pharaoh’s army in that same sea.
They forgot God.
Moses came down the mountain to discover the debacle of idolatry, the devastation of spiritual amnesia.
They forgot God.
God reintroduced himself.
The Jehovah who met with Moses at Mt. Horeb (another name for Mt. Sinai) described himself this way.
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, ESV)
God did what you and I have done a thousand times. He introduced himself by telling what he does. His name is…
- slow to anger
- abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness
- keeping steadfast love for thousands
- forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin
- just: but who will by no means clear the guilty
That is Jehovah.
At the Red Sea, they needed to get out of Egypt; at Mt. Sinai, they needed to get Egypt out of them.
Their greatest problem was not being in Egypt. Their greatest problem was Egypt in them. And it’s our greatest problem too.
Romans 8 provides a remarkable parallel to Exodus 34.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Romans 8:32-36, ESV)
He gave up his Son for you.
If God has given us his greatest treasure, and thereby has met our greatest need, then He will meet all our lesser needs.