And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
Encountering God in such a way is a humbling experience, indeed. All Moses could do was fall down and worship the great I AM. He is the eternal one, merciful and gracious and longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, a forgiver of sins, and just in all He does. He personifies in combination all of these things at once. The unsurpassed greatness of God’s glory is truly more than we can take in as mere humans. It is something that must be shielded from us, because the fullness of it would overwhelm us in our current state. And yet He comes down to us, since we can’t really get to Him on our own, and shares with us those things because He wants us to know Him as He truly is.
So God stood with Moses. He came right beside him and showed Moses who He is. And since God is eternally all of these things, He will stand beside us and proclaim these things to our hearts, as well. Because God knows us, too, and He knows us personally. And those things about Himself that He reveals to us speak to specific needs within all of us. His mercy is an unending sea we fall into. When we know so strongly our own unworthiness, that doesn’t prevent His mercy, but invites it. He gives it to us more abundantly the more we are aware of our need for it.
God’s grace is enough for every wrong, every sin, and every hurt. His patience endures our continual rebellion and failure. His goodness stretches out and surrounds the whole of His creation. His truth enters into the darkness and uncertainty and gives us a light for our path, solid ground beneath our feet, and something to hold on to in a confusing world. He will forgive sin, but He will never compromise His own justice. And just knowing these things about God, being enlightened to these truths, only compels us to do as Moses did in response.
Moses was seeking God while the people sought their idol. They wanted a god, but it didn’t seem to matter which one. The world around us seeks after the gods of this world. They are content to settle for those lesser things. But may we join Moses on that mountain seeking after the one true God. And may what we experience in His presence truly have an impact on us and our lives. It is at the heart of that covenant, the first commandment—no other gods. Because nothing at all can truly compare to the unmatched glory of Jehovah.