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. And he said, if now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
What do you say when you introduce yourself? Most people introduce themselves by saying their name, and they might talk about something they like to do, what their work is, or where they are from. People can learn some important things about you right away, just from the words of your introduction.
In our reading from Exodus today, God meets with Moses and pauses to describe himself so that the people can know who he is. God calls himself “the Lord” and says 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.” Similar descriptions of God are included in many places in the Bible. The gracious nature of God is at the heart of his identity. How beautiful!
Knowing who God is, we can take comfort that nothing from our past, present, or future will separate us from God’s love. When we meet the God of grace, we can find peace, knowing that God is forgiving, patient, and loving. God’s grace and forgiveness lead us to know him, and his patience and lovingkindness faithfully guide us to follow him forever.