“And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “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.” – Exodus 34:6-7a
What we think about a person determines how we respond to them. For example, if we think our politicians are not quite up to the task, we will find it hard to trust them and follow their directives. Or if we think a friend has our best interests at heart, we will be willing to listen to them when they offer a correction or reproof.How we view a person matters, but what matters even more is how we view God. As the theologian A.W Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us”, so we should ask ourselves, ‘what is my view of God and what is informing it?’If I think of God as absent or disinterested in the affairs of this world, it’s likely I will find it hard to go to Him for help. Or if I view God as loving but powerless, then I might seek Him out for comfort whilst expecting Him to do very little. Ultimately, if our view of God is based on what we or the world assumes He is like, we will eventually form a skewed picture in our minds, leading us to either worship or reject a God of our own making.
So how can we know what God is truly like? Thankfully, God has told us Himself! In Exodus 34:6-7, we read of God appearing before Moses, proclaiming who He is: “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” God hasn’t kept us in the dark but has chosen to reveal who He is, giving us His Word as the clearest description of His character so we can know, love and trust Him.
What’s more, God hasn’t just told us who He is, for in the person of Jesus He has shown us. As the apostle John writes, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known” (John 1:18). If we’re unsure what God is like, we need only turn to Jesus in the Gospels, who is “the Word made flesh…full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
At times we may find ourselves being swayed by the world’s opinions or even our own tangled thoughts and emotions, but in those moments let’s choose to hold onto the truth of God’s Word and who He says He is.