Exodus 34:6-7 – A Beautiful Portrait of God
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord,
Dear God, please help me to ask You for what I want and need. Sometimes, it is so hard to ask for help in this world; it shows my need and powerlessness to other people and leaves me vulnerable. There is a fear that people may say no or even use my weakness against me. With You, though, I can know that You will always hear my prayers and answer them according to Your will, never using my vulnerability against me. As Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from temptation,” you already know my needs and wants, my weaknesses and my fears, before I tell you! Asking you to show me Your glory only allows You to act in my life! You may cover me as You did Moses so that I don’t see You directly acting. You may choose to show Your glory – Your character, Your love and faithfulness to me – rather than Your power; in these times, please help me to be strong in my own faith and patient in Your ultimate plan for my life.
the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
Dear God, please give me patience, especially when I am too angry to ask You for patience! Help me to remember this part of Your story. You had just opened the Red Sea for the Israelites and closed it on Pharoah’s army, leading with the pillars or smoke and fire. You had given direct evidence of Your power and Your love for Your people, yet they couldn’t even wait forty days before building a golden calf to idolize! In his human anger, Moses broke the stone tablets with Your commandments. Yet, with all of this human forgetfulness and sinning, You were compassionate and gracious enough to say “Yes!” You said yes to Moses, and were creating a second set of stone tablets. No matter how stiff-necked the people, You were willing to forgive and guide Your people forward. Please help me to remember this story, not only when I sin so that I can know You are still my Redeemer, but also when I am dealing with other people. Please help me to forgive myself and others for past sins, and to focus on showing compassion and grace as You are compassion and grace enbodied.
7 maintaining love to thousands,
Dear God, how amazing You are! You not only forgave the people but continued to love them! You didn’t leave them to perish in the desert, but You continued to lead by smoke and fire and provided manna in the mornings! As hard as it is for me to think of 100 or even 50 people whom I love that fully, You loved those people and You continue to love all people that much. How amazing if Your love!
and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
Dear God, You forgive wickedness, and rebellion, and sin. Why did You have to say this three ways? Why did You have to remind me of all the ways in which I can turn from You? We say people are inherently wicked when we are talking about who they are, their state of being. We ask about motives and thoughts when we see rebellions. We see people doing bad things, and we say they are sinning. Please help me to remain faithful to You and Your word not only in my outward actions, so that I act according to Your commandments and Your will for my life, but also in my thoughts and motives, in my innermost self.
Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished;
Dear God, You do not leave the guilty unpunished. Please help me to understand what You are saying here! When I sin, I deserve eternal death. And yet, You sent Jesus, Your only begotten Son, to die on the cross for me. You have promised to not give me eternal punishment! I do not have to be scared of You, I only have to have faith in Your promise that if You are building a house for me, then You will return for me.
And, Dear God, please, help me to remember that Your allowing of natural consequences does not mean that I get to hold a grudge! Thank you.
he punishes the children and their children
Dear God, it seems so unfair that the innocent children should have to suffer for the wrongs of their parents. Why do innocent children have to suffer? No child should be the victim of an abusive parent; no child should have to suffer the consequences of an alcoholic parent; no child should have to be fearful of the school bully or the mean teacher or the neuighborhood drug dealer. And yet, they do. You allow us to see the consequences of the evil in this world. Please, please, Dear God, return to this earth quickly so that we may all be in Your perfect Heaven where no one, especially the innocent children, have to suffer for the sins of others.
Dear God, please help me to not pass on consequences to my own children. There are sins that are more secret, more invisible – or just easier to overlook than to intercede – like alcoholism and anorexia, just to start with the A’s, which wreck havoc on the children and grandchildren. There are sins that are learned by children who watch their parents so closely, like greed and pride, which also wreck havoc their lives. Please help me to be the role model that You want me to be for my children.
for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Dear God, thank You for Your love, Your compassion, Your grace, Your faithfulness. Thank You also, for allowing punishment in my life, and help me to see that the punishment in not Your original plan for my life, by a consequence of my own actions. Please help me to learn from the past, to grow towards You, and to rasie my children so that they too have the same desire as Moses, to see Your glory pass before them.