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One remarkable day Moses asked to see the glory of God. He was really asking to see a more complete picture of his Lord—he wanted a glimpse of God’s real nature, of His true character. Amazingly, God granted His humble servant’s request. And so He placed Moses in a cleft of a rock and then passed by, proclaiming His name: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).

Now surely this should put to rest the myth that there are really two Gods revealed in the Bible, the judging, fiery, wrathful God of the Old Testament and the loving, forgiving, gentle God of the New. How does God proclaim Himself in the Old Testament? He is a God full of mercy, gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and in truth. These are the marvelous charac­teristics of God declared throughout the Old Testament.

Hundreds of years after Moses’ time, the prophet Isaiah would look back to the time of the exodus and proclaim, “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has bestowed upon us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses” (Isaiah 63:7).

Staggered by the goodness of his Lord, Isaiah takes a deep breath and then remembers afresh how God has treated His people:

“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:9).

What a beautiful Scripture! “In all their affliction He was afflicted.” The early disciples recognized that whatever persecutions they faced, they faced for Jesus Christ. So when the religious authorities beat them and commanded them not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus, they went their way, praising the Lord that they had been accounted worthy to suffer persecution for Jesus’ sake (Acts 5:41).

Whenever you endure any persecution for the name of the Lord, remember that in all of your afflictions He is afflicted. He bears your sorrow. He shares with you the afflictions, the tribulations, the perse­cutions—and He always has. That is the unchanging heart of the Lord Almighty for His children.

Even before Moses had taken a single step toward leading the nation of Israel out of Egyptian slavery, God had told him, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows” (Exodus 3:7).

In His love and in His pity, God redeemed the enslaved Hebrews from the harsh treatment of the Egyptians. And not only that, but “He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” Through that entire agonizing wilderness experience, the Lord stayed with His people. He protected them, He watched over them and He preserved them—and not because He had to, but because that is what His tender heart of love moved Him to do.

– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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