The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 34:6,7
Relate: The reading today moved me. Perhaps I am influenced by the approach of Valentine’s Day, but I was captivated by the depth of love God displays to a selfish, flawed, and broken people.
I was reminded yet again that the Bible is one big love story. It is God’s love story with mankind. This is something we can often lose sight of in our daily study and our efforts to live the Christian life. Even the religious leaders of the day were the ones who hated Jesus to the point of wanting him dead. It isn’t surprising, then, that we forget or miss the main point sometimes.
Looking at today’s reading we see a God providing a new copy of the covenant with a fallen people, a God “slow to anger and filled with unfailing love,“ and a God that is clear about the effects of sin from one person to the next. He is, in this section, giving people the boundaries they need to avoid the disastrous effects sin have- on the individual and those effected by the individual. Sin isn’t damaging because God wants people to hurt. Sin is damaging because that is the very nature of sin. The tablets with the commandments were given to protect people from the guilt of sin, which passes from generation to generation. The commandments were given out of God’s unfailing love for us.
In the reading from Matthew, we see Jesus rejected by those who should have known him best. He was mocked, beaten, and sent to the cross. He did it all out of love. He did it because the world needed a man capable and willing to repair the damages of sin- the damages that carry from generation to generation.
The religious leaders failed to see God among them, but God did not fail to provide a final sacrifice with the power to give mankind an option besides death and separation.
The reading from Psalms states, “But the Lord watches over those who fear him,/those who rely on his unfailing love./He rescues them from death/and keeps them alive in times of famine./We put our hope in the Lord./He is our help and our shield./In him our hearts rejoice,/for we trust in his holy name./Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,/for our hope is in you alone” (Psalm 33:18-22 NLT). This text serves as yet another example of how God’s unfailing love is recognized and proclaimed throughout scripture.
The final passage in today’s reading comes from Proverbs. Here we are encouraged to embrace Wisdom. Wisdom is using good judgement, and is depicted as simply a matter of eating the food provided. What food has Wisdom provided? I would say, the boundaries of protection given by a God of unfailing love. You see? It is all one story- a love story.
React: We may deny God and his power, live contrary to his laws, or simply forget to put him first. Whatever, it may be, there is absolutely nothing that can make this love story untrue. The love of God is unfailing, and it is for you. I hope you will recognize and embrace this love for you today.
Dear God, Thank you so much for your unfailing love. I am in awe of the way you and your love for me do not change. I am sorry for the times I have failed. I desperately need your compassion, mercy, and grace. Thank you for giving them so freely. Let me never forget truth of your story and where I belong in it. I love you, and I praise you. Amen.