My name is Tony. Good morning. If this is your first time here, maybe your first time back in a while, we are in week two into a series. We are two weeks into a series out of the Book of Exodus, really focusing on the chapter of Exodus, chapter thirty four particularly verses six and seven.
We’re in a series called Who is the Lord? We find in this chapter God’s self disclosure statement, God’s on top of Mount Sinai with Moses.And we get to be a fly on the wall as he begins to explore who he is and tells Moses who he is. Moses asks, Hey, God, show me your glory. Show me what you’re about. Show me what you’re like. And God says, stop, listen. And I will tell you who I am.
And then what follows is Exodus chapter thirty four verses six and seven, and last week we said this chapter or sorry, these two verses are the most quoted in all of the Bible. The biblical authors circle back to these verses again and again and again and again and again. And in a world where opinions are as vast as there are people, we believe that going back to Exodus thirty four verses six and seven should be kind of like a ground zero for us, a place for us to start to begin to answer the question, who is the Lord?
What does he like? What does he live like? How does the act?
How does he care for his children? Does he care? Is he of a is he a one? Is he three. Is he ten. Is he two. What is this Lord. What is he like. How does he respond.
Does he care. That’s what this series is about. If you’re watching us online, you missed last week, I’m going to do something a little bit crazy. But I want to go ahead and ask you to click on the link below. That’s about to appear. It’s the sermon from last week. If you weren’t here last week, you need to go listen to that first and then you can come back and listen to this sermon. And if you’re visiting here or this is your first time here in a while and you didn’t listen last week, I would also like to ask you to leave.
I’m just kidding. You can stay, but I’m going to give you a little bit of recap. All of you online, go away and come back later. But you here stay and listen to the real quick recap. Last week, we said that what do we think about what we think about when we think about God will determine the way in which we live.
Our views of who God is determines the life we live. Our view of what God is like, what he likes, determines what we like, the one we worship determines how we live our everyday life, how we serve, how we work, what breaks our hearts, what builds us up, how we view our children and our spouses and our families and our friends. It determines how we treat those we love.
It also determines how we treat those who are our enemies. Our view of God will determine how we live out faith, what we what we think about when we think about God determines everything about us. As A.W. Tozer says, what comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
And we know that the opinions about God are as vast as the number of people there are on the planet, and so rather than have those opinions shaped by our experiences or shaped by our culture or shaped by our social status or ethnicity or how much money we make or our opinions on the political matter, our view of God, we’ve been saying, should be first and foremost shaped by the truth of his word. And that’s why we’re looking at Exodus chapter thirty four, because this is the first place in the Bible that God describes what he’s like.
Yahweh says you want to know who I am. Well, this is me. Before we get started, I just want to give you a moment, if you’re watching us online to share, to take a second and think about who do I know that needs a reset in their faith? Who is someone I know that could benefit from a reconstructed view of the God of the Bible? Who do I know that has their mind kind of tossed back and forth by every sound, sort of like good sounding argument?
Who needs to just go back to the scriptures and reconstruct a beauty of the majesty of the God, the creator? If you can’t think of anybody off the top of your head and just share on your link, and I bet you that God will use that share to do something special. So who is the Lord? I asked you we’re going to I told you we’re going to memorize this verse together, Exodus, chapter three, four, verses six and seven.
And so I’m going to put up on the screen. We’re going to read it together. The nine 15 service, I’m just going to tell you, did a bad job. You guys are my. Just kidding. All right. Here we go. Ready?
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. He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation. Again, if you’re confused about the last couple of lines, make sure you stick around for the entire series in the last week. I’ll take on that whole subject that seems a little bit weird.
This week we focus on the first thing that God says about himself, the compassionate and gracious God.
Imagine you’re living in fifteen hundred B.C., you’re a Hebrew, you’re a descendant of Abraham. But for generations, you and your whole family has been in Egypt and you have been slaves in Egypt. The reason you’ve been slaves is because your captors believe in a theology and in a type of God that would allow that type of slavery.
As we always as we mentioned before, our lives are shaped by the God in which we serve your slaves and, you know, the gods of the Egyptians, you know Isis and you know Osiris and you know Horus. You also know the Greek gods. And they’re not any nicer than the Egyptian gods, Hades Ares, Hermes, Zeus.
And don’t forget about the gods of the Canaanites Molloch, B’ Al Ashera.
You are growing up. You live in a world of gods. And just like your captor, none of these gods are nice. None of them would be considered compassionate or gracious. None of them. Not a single one abounding in love. Absolutely not.
And even in an even if you have just kind of like a modest reading of the ancient text, you would actually uncover that, that these that the gods were quite violent, that they were capricious, that they were, in fact, just evil at some parts. Part of the normal practice was actually to attempt to appease these gods. They were so violent that they would at first ask you to sacrifice a bird and then you would sacrifice a goat and then maybe a bull.
And eventually one of those gods might ask for your own child. You remember the story of Troy. It takes place at the same time where Moses is on the top of Mount Sinai, the Greek king Agamemnon is sailing across the sea and he’s fighting the Trojan War. He’s he’s actually sailing across the sea with his entire army, and while they’re halfway in the middle of the sea, the wind dies down. And what we find out is that it’s dead because Archimedes, the God of the Greece of the Greeks, is very angry.
As a matter of fact, she’s always angry. So she makes this deal with the king. She says, hey, kill your daughter and I’ll send the wind. Kill your daughter, she says, and I’ll do what you want. With no hope, the king does it, he slit her throat to appease Archimedes’ wrath, and the story says immediately the wind begins to blow. This is the depiction of the cruel, benevolent Elohim of the day, these god characters were vile, wicked.
No wonder the ancient world had those same descriptions. So if you grew up a slave in Egypt and you lived with the reality that at any moment, in any time one of these gods could demand from you your life or maybe worse the life of your child.
And then one day something crazy happens. You’re sitting there with your community and all of a sudden there’s a man who was once an Egyptian who went to what is called that Moses went to? Median? Midian? I don’t know how to say this. Gosh, this is bad. All right, whatever. You know, the words are so so he goes off to the wilderness and comes back and he says, look, I have rediscovered the God of our youth. I’ve rediscovered the God of Abraham. He says he’s I am the great creator. And you see and the fact is that he sees you in captivity and he actually cares.
He wants to set you free to rescue you and you know, the story of the exodus, this God ends up leading the people out of Egypt through the Red Sea, across the desert. He gives them food and water to survive the journey and everything and everything he does, he gives to them not because they deserve it, but because he’s amazing. He’s come not to enslave, but to save. They didn’t understand that. And so it’s no wonder when Moses is on Mount Sinai having this conversation with God and we see an Exodus chapter thirty four versus six and seven, he says, who are you?
You don’t work in the world, I understand. You’re so unlike the gods of the world that I cannot put you in a box or in a category. You treat us like we’re your sons and your daughters. That was nothing like the way the other gods treated them. And at this, I can imagine God smiles. And he looked at Moses and he goes, yeah, OK, let me tell you who I am, the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God.
This must have blown them away in a world of vengeance, sorry, vengeful and cruel gods Yahweh gives himself a title. You want to know who I am and the compassionate and gracious God. All the other gods are cruel? I’m compassionate. All the other gods are wicked. I’m kind and I’m gracious. This is the first thing that God reveals about his name. In the Hebrew Order Matters, order is a clue as to what is important to the fact that gracious and compassionate is that top is at the top of the list.
That is his dominant characteristic. Let’s talk about the words, because they’re kind of important. He says that he’s compassionate. Rachum Is the word. Can I hear you say that? All right, let’s try a little more. One, two, three. Yes, great.
The noun form of that word is the word womb in Hebrew. You want to connect the dots? Well, I’ll give it to you, the BDB Theological Dictionary submits that the reason the word compassionate and the word womb are together is because the word compassionate means the love of a mother. God is saying that he loves like a mother. Think about how amazing this must have been for the people of Israel to hear. In a world full of people who did not love them, who did not care about them, the deities hated them, wanted to destroy them.
God says, I love you. You understand the way that that a newborn, the mother of a newborn, loves their child. That’s the way I feel about you. I love you. Wow. Even in today’s world, that kind of that should take us back for a little bit. We should be thinking, wow, we have the creator of the universe who, though we are dust, treats us like sons and daughters, this word is so beautiful that it’s actually written in the scriptures to describe this deep seated feeling of emotion in First Kings, chapter three, verse 16.
There’s a really interesting story. Two women are fighting over a child. One is the real mother. The other one is pretending like that child is her child. And so. So there is no DNA test. There is no I don’t know those reality shows, Maury Povich or whatever. So so King Solomon comes up with this idea. He has a test.
He says, let’s cut the baby in half. He’s trying to see which parent would react first. King Chapter three, verse twenty six as the woman whose son was alive was deeply moved. That’s that same word. Compassion. It means she felt it in her womb out of love for her son and said to the king, Please, my Lord, give her the living baby. Don’t kill him. She’d rather her son live with someone else than not live at all.
This is the intense, visceral, motherly love that a parent has for their child and God actually describes himself this way. And Isaiah, chapter forty nine, verse 15 says, Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has bore, though she may forget, I will not forget you. I look at you like you’re my newborn baby. You are close to me and connected to me. I love you like a mom.
That’s what he’s saying. But then he has this really interesting line. I will, though, she may forget. And I believe he says this so that because he’s just showing us that he understands that not everyone connects with this idea of a mother’s love. For some of us and I’ve heard the stories, mom and dad were just mad. For some of you, mom was the archetype of a perfectionist, she always nagged you, she was condemning, exasperating because you were never smart enough, athletic enough, good enough, pretty enough.
And God says, look, even if they have abandoned you, even if they were critical and mean to you and condescending, even when they broke your heart, even if they forget you, let me explain how much I love you. I will never forget you. You’re my baby. My child. It’s an amazing God we serve last example as I’m sorry, Psalm, chapter 103, you know, you recognize this the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding and love.
He’s quoting Exodus, chapter thirty four. This is David. He goes on to say, as a father has compassion on his children. So the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. So again, the biblical word compassion is how a parent feels about their kids.
God loves you as though you were born from his own womb. We have two kids, and I’ve never felt anything for anyone, what I feel for my children. It’s ridiculous if I hear them take a breath that sounds like they’re not not not happy or in comfort, I instantly feel a drop in the pit of my stomach.
If they are too quiet for too long, I feel a pit in my stomach, if they feel if they if they say they’re like…”da..” There’s something in me that I must, you know, I don’t understand it.
Some people say they’re wrapped. They have me wrapped around their finger or whatever. That’s fine the way I feel. I’ve never felt for anything else. I’ve watched my wife who has a higher level of compassion than I do in the middle of the night hear our baby cry and I lean over and go and she’ll go up right away, pick up our child nurse.
Rock, hold, pray, sing.
And after the baby cries their whole face off, I’ll walk over to the baby and the mother and Cassandra and she’ll stand there and she’ll still have a smile on her face to say, isn’t he so beautiful? I say, he’s ruining my life.
And the fact that we celebrate children is actually kind of crazy because, you know, we’re like they’re going to have a baby and they’re just going to steal your life and your sanity and your sleep.
But we’re happy because we love them so much. I once heard someone say, why don’t we sing all those gushy songs about love in the church, I’m like, because that’s what God feels about you.
If you’re a parent, you understand this, there’s no love as fierce as that of a child, as that of a parent to their child, it’s visceral marrow in the bones kind of love that’s stronger than life itself. When it comes to my kids, I would do any for them, anything for them. But the craziest thing about this is that my love for my kids, my wife’s love for our kids, is just a faint echo of how Yahweh feels about his children.
But how he feels about you and about me. Could you just stop for a second and let that sink in? That he loves you. Yahweh the compassionate and gracious God? Compassionate is a word that means a feeling that that’s a feeling word, by contrast, gracious is an action word. It’s the Hebrew word channun. So you have rachun and chanun and they go together. They feel like they sound together. It means to show grace to channun someone is to care for them in the moment of their deepest needs.
An interesting little tidbit is that this word is actually only used to describe God in the Bible. No one else in the Bible is described as gracious because no one else is as gracious as he is. In the scriptures, it says that he’s gracious to the poor, that his graciousness is like a coat that keeps us warm. It describes it as a wall that we can as a it’s a wall to defend the nation or the relief of a lonely and tortured soul.
David in Pslam twenty five writes turned to me and be gracious to me, for I’m lonely and affliccted. Relieve the trouble of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my afflictions and my distress and take away all my sin. He he says, look, I am going through a lot. And what does he pray for. God’s graciousness. Lord, would you do something? Would you rescue me. Would you save me a prayer for grace is a prayer for salvation.
A prayer to receive help in your time of trouble, to bring you into relationship, to notice your affliction afflictions, to take heed of your distress. It’s a prayer. Asking God to respond. Lord respond. And let me just tell you this, and this is just a tangent, but God doesn’t respond to man because of how good they are. As a matter of fact, the only thing that can effectively keep you from God’s graciousness is thinking that you deserve it.
But God is gracious to those who don’t really deserve much grace at all. Isn’t that awesome that you can be far from God, you can be miserable and that you could run to him and that he would receive you and respond to you and love you? God doesn’t respond because of your goodness, but on the basis of his own character, he is compassionate and gracious. So you put the words together and what do we learn? We learn that Yahweh loves you like a parent and is willing to help you in your needs.
Now, this is beautiful. Right, but you know, this kind of at least, you know it intellectually. But in the scriptures, one of the most interesting things that I’ve uncovered as I study this, that in the scriptures, this characteristic of God is actually one of the most that people complain about.
Why or because Yahweh doesn’t just love you. And is not willing to just help you. Meaning that actually he is willing to help all sorts of unsavory characters. Would you take me would you walk with me on a journey through the book of Jonah, you don’t have to go there. I’m just going to tell you the story in the opening line of Jonah’s autobiography.
In The Book of Jonah, we read that the word of Yahweh came to Jonah and he tells him to do this. He says, to go to the great city of Ninnevah and preach against it because it’s wickedness has come up before me. Now, you may read this and think this is a condemnation statement, but actually it’s a statement of both compassion and graciousness.
I notice their pain and the pain they cause.
Jonah, go save them. Ninnevah is the capital city of the city of the Assyrian empire. Assyria was the dominant empire of the day and also the enemy of Israel. Their wickedness was the stuff of legends. As a matter of fact, decades ago we found some archeological evidence of Nineveh, not only of Nineveh, but of their kings and what they’re like and want to hear some great things about their kings. I’m going to give you some quotes about these wonderful people.
Here are some wonderful people of Nineveh. You ready? This is the king of Nineveh. This is what he said. Pyramid of Heads is rendered in front of this city, their youth and their maids. I burned up in the flames. You want to meet them, have them over for dinner. The king is saying he made a giant pile of heads. And then he set the children and the women on fire. But that’s not all, folks, how about this, he’s talking about a king he defeated, he says his skin is spread upon the walls of the city.
He skin them alive. Just for good measure, here is another thing he said about a different king I pierced his chin with my keen dagger, pierced his chin with my keen dagger through his jaw and passed a rope, put a dog chain upon him and made him occupy a kennel.
The invites were wonderful people. Here you have a story and God says, look, I know of their wickedness, I see them, I understand what they’re doing now you, Jonah, go help. And Jonah has no desire to go there, no desire at all. Instead, the Bible says that Jonah runs away, he gets in a boat. He’s actually end up being thrown overboard. It’s a great story of whale fish thing eats him sort of and then spits them out.
And then eventually it took him a really long time. But he gets to Ninevah. He walks around and he’s so despondent, doesn’t really want to help? And so he has this one line sermon 40 days and then Ninevah will be destroyed. That’s the whole sermon. Yahweh is going to kill you. Now, can you just imagine how effective that would be if I were to do that on Sunday mornings?
God is going to kill you, you know.
That’s the sermon. He preaches it and preaches it and and what ends up happening is a miracle. The people of Nineveh don’t need any beautiful words. They don’t need anything awesome to be said to them. They don’t need any illustrations. They just repent. The Bible says they repent, they turn away from the gods that they served, which led them to be as evil as they were, they repented of their violence. Even the king himself calls for a day of mourning and fasting.
They begin to beg for the God of the Bible’s mercy. And then we read this in chapter three, verse ten.
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented. This word can be translated as repented, meaning he was going to kill them. And then he decided, I’m not going to kill you anymore and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
This is an incredible story. Wow, this is awesome. Jonah should be like, you know, they should make like a monument of Jonah and Nineveh, like and Jonah should be, you know, like brought in as King. You know, everyone should be praising him. Yeah.
But the story goes that Jonah is not happy. Do you know why he’s not happy? I believe that Jonah is thinking about the idea that Ninevah has been the cause of so much wickedness in the world. He starts thinking about the evil that Ninevah has caused all the people that have been tortured because of that king. See, he didn’t want God to help them, he wanted God to kill them. So look at what he says to God in his adult form of a temper tantrum.
This isn’t what I said. Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I when I was still at home, that is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarsus.
Look, this is why I left. I left God, I left God, this is what I was trying to stop. And listen to what he says as he echoes Exodus Chapter thirty four, I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah is mad, is seething with anger. Why? Because Yahweh was compassionate and gracious to his enemies. Now, this begins to get real because it’s one thing to hear the song, how he loves us and be washed in the idea of God’s love for us.
It’s a whole nother thought to start thinking about God washing his love over our enemies, over the people who have been evil to us, over the people who abused us, over the people who abandoned us, over the people who were who left us for dead, over the people who gossiped about us and talked behind our back. It’s a whole nother conversation to say how he loves them.
I have a question, how do you feel knowing that God is merciful towards your enemies? Or towards the truly wicked. That he blesses the sinful. He shows Grace to the villain in your story. How do you feel when God is merciful? How do you feel when God is merciful to the people that skin your king alive? And burn your women and your children and carry off your ableman into slavery. How do you feel about those people? What about when God shows mercy to the people that slandered you or lied about you, the people who divorced you, abandoned you, betrayed you?
What about when God is merciful to those who you realize and probably rightly so, rightly so deserve some punishment. See, that’s the problem with God and with the God of the Bible, you can’t you can’t just trust him to keep back his blessings from people who don’t deserve it. You just can’t trust it. You want punishment for all, you may not find it in the God of the Bible. See we must come to a realization that there is something underlying about his character.
God blesses people who don’t deserve it. And while we’re on that subject. Isn’t it right in me saying that you are proof of that same point? You aren’t good, you you are the enemy in someone else’s story. You are the cause of evil and violence and someone else’s story, you are the cause of frustration in someone else’s story, and yet he blessed you. Innocence is a myth in fact.
And yes, God is just and we’re going to talk about that, he does get angry, we’ll see that in a couple of weeks.
But for now, how do you deal with the fact that he loves the enemies in your life?
This may be the most difficult teaching in the Bible, especially. It’s especially hard because we live in the United States. I’m going to say some things that are going to make you uncomfortable, but I’m just going to tell you. You know, our comfort level with violence in this country is way high. Especially military violence. We believe we’re the good guys, that we’re the innocent, you know, and so a lot of Americans would prefer to bomb our enemies or waterboard our enemies or call on a drone strike to them or send them to the electric chair rather than have God show them mercy.
We pray and pray and pray that justice would happen to those who do evil. Very rarely do we pray for God to have mercy on those who do evil.
How do you feel, just hypothetically, if God were to show mercy on Osama bin Laden? And you know what, you don’t have to pay for your crime, you’re allowed to enter into my holy kingdom. I’ll make it worse. How about Hitler? How about the people who murdered George Floyd? You want to get political. How about whatever side you’re on, left or right? How about if God blessed and allowed amazing things to happen to Nancy Pelosi?
Or to those of you who hate Donald Trump. Who whoever, you know, deserves the most punishment, what if God says, you know what, I’m going to let them live? Not only that, let them live and let them have peace. I’m going to let them off. I’m going to let them be reconciled. I’m going to let them feel the joy of being in the kingdom of God.
And if what I just said makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable, you now feel what Jonah felt. I don’t want them to be saved, I want them to be destroyed. This brings me to a really interesting story, or one of the most famous stories that Jesus ever told a story about a father and two sons, we call it the prodigal son. The youngest son, the wild son, is brash, he’s a party animal, the older son is a self-righteous snob.
The Wild son asked for his inheritance early, which would have been seen as an incredible disrespect and a cultural shame, but in a shocking twist, the dad says, OK, I’ll let you do whatever you want. So he gives this narcissistic son whatever he wants. He sends him off to a country. And of course, because he’s the worst, he squanders all of his wealth and all of the money that his dad gave him. He’s in this distant country.
He becomes like the person subject to abject poverty. He’s so it’s so bad. The Bible says that he’s trying to eat the pig’s food.
So he comes to his senses, he decides to go back and beg for mercy, I have disgraced your name, he says I have been wicked to you. Make me into one of your servants, make me a slave of yours. At least then I’ll have some food. So he goes home and on his way home, he sees the father sees him. We find out the father’s been waiting for him the whole time. He sees him while he’s a long way off and the father runs over to them and hugs him and embraces him and kisses them and puts a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet and takes off his cloak and put it on him.
And he celebrates and they have this party. It’s an act of compassion, of mercy, of grace. The father obviously is an illustration of God.
The forgiven son is an illustration of those who are far from him who want to come back, that God is willing to. Even though you break his heart a thousand times, God’s mercy is unbreakable. But there’s another character in the story later we hear about the older son and he’s angry, you know why he’s angry? Because in his opinion, the younger son didn’t deserve mercy.
Here’s the point. The younger son isn’t deserving of mercy. The father, though, can’t help but to give it. The older son’s problem is that he believed he deserved it. And in fact, he was just as wicked as the younger son. See, if you’re far from God, you can turn back and he will shower you with grace, but if you’re so self-righteous as to think that that God shouldn’t give mercy to people who are sinners, you don’t know the father.
That’s it. God is in love with you, but he also loves those who have hurt you.
God is willing to do anything to bring you into a relationship with him, but he’s also willing to do that to people who are the worst of sinners. And when you start separating categories and believing you’re on the good side and those other people are on the wicked side, you have missed the whole point because all of us are sinful messes. All of us deserve the wrath of God. And yet all of us have been blessed by God’s compassionate word. You know, one of the things that’s remarkable to me, and this is the thing I kind of struggle with the most, is that the churches function is to be image bearers.
Disciples are supposed to be image bearers.
We’re supposed to be people that look like God. That’s what we’re supposed to be.
And what I believe the world needs more than anything else is the world needs mercy. The world needs to know that that look, you stink that’s true? Yes, of course. But you can come back. Life can be whole for you again. We have plenty of bloggers. You know, I’m saying we have plenty of people on the Twitter mobs who are trying to destroy people’s lives. We have plenty of people on Yelp giving bad reviews. There’s like five million of those people.
We have so many talking heads, so many people who know everything about everything. And we’ll just condemn you in a single second, who are fine with scorning and fine with canceling and fine with killing and fine with abusing. As long as it’s not them, as long as they’re on the good team, you can abuse the bad people.
We have a world full of people who have no mercy. And what God is instructing us to become is people who are like him.
Daughters and sons of the father ought to be people that show mercy, just like the father does. And here’s something I’ve discovered in my own life. Maybe you don’t give mercy because you have never accepted it. I’m a type A guy, I’m driven, impatient, I talk fast, I think fast, I move fast. I tell people I have no opinions. They all laugh at me. It’s easy for me to come off a little bit disrespectful or to come off dismissive, certainly as rude.
Those are my words, the word Jesus would use was that I come off as unmerciful. And I can treat people with the viewpoint that God is angry with them. And maybe it’s because part of me still feels like God is angry with me. That I’m a failure, a fraud. That I’m a disappointment to him. Then no matter what I do, I just can’t be who he wants me to be that I’m a screw up. I feel like I have to prove to him that I can be someone who he loves.
And so in other people, the reason I respond to other people the way I do is because I feel like maybe God feels that about them. It’s the God I worship that causes my actions. Right. I have a chip on my shoulder. Maybe it’s because I see my own sin better than anybody else does. Maybe it’s because I’m trying my hardest and I’ll never measure up to the image that I want. Maybe it’s the church upbringing I grew up in.
Maybe it’s just my personality. I don’t know. But there’s something in my gut, a constant sense that I need to get my act together. I just need to work harder. I need to do more and be better, earn my keep speak better, lead better that I need to pick up the speed that I need to do more. And I’m constantly walking on a tightrope. My view of God as unmerciful to me makes it so that I’m often unmerciful to others.
But slowly and surely, I’m hitting the reset button. And all the stuff I just said is true, it’s actually really true. But I’m learning that God loves me just as I am, that’s a hard thing for me to learn. It’s hard for me to learn that I’m a son. That I’m the son, you’re a son or a daughter, that I’m not a slave under the gods of the world. I’m not a slave. Instead, I’m a son under Yahweh the God who is compassionate and gracious.
I love what hebrews chapter four, verse five says it’s picking up in the middle of a sentence, but we might receive adoption to sonship because you are his sons, daughters, even God sent God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts. The spirit who calls out Abba father.
God sent this force, this spirit in our hearts so that we could say, God, you’re our dad. Verse seven.
So you are no longer a slave. You’re not a slave, but God’s child. And since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. I’m not a slave. I’m a son. And you’re a son and a daughter. And that feeling is supposed to bring me to a point where I begin to mimic that, and when I see people, I don’t see them like some pawn peace in a chess game. I don’t see them as some person to do whatever with.
I don’t even see them in terms of what I can use them for, do with them or how how they relate to me. I don’t see those people like that at all. Instead, I should see everybody like they are God’s son and daughter, like they’re my son and daughter. I love them because God loves them, I should mimic that type of love, mimic that type of compassion, and even for the people who are the worst of enemies of mine, my families are the people I love and respect.
And certainly there is justice, but for now, for now. Let’s start the way he started. Let’s start learning how to be gracious and compassionate. The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate, gracious God, slow to anger and abounding love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness rebellion and sin and He does not leave the guilty unpunished. He punishes the children and their children for the sins of the father, its parents, to the third and fourth generation.