Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

The Self-witness of God

“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.”

Exodus 34:5-6

Moses was God's friend and God allowed him to express a wish. What Moses wanted was to see the face of God. However, it was not possible. God is holy and man was, due to sin, unable to look at God's face without instantly dying. Nevertheless, Moses (shielded and covered by God's hand) was permitted to see God from behind as HE passed by (Exodus 33:12-23). Then God spoke the scriptures we read at the beginning of this devotion. The self-witness of God is that, on the one hand, HE is clearly positioned: HE is the eternal God, the eternal Being and perfect, whom no-one can comprehend or see, which man nevertheless have to fear beyond any doubt. God can be everything and no-one can contradict Him or take notice of Him. But, HE says of Himself, that HE is merciful. Mercy is not a human, but a divine characteristic. There is unlimited grace before the law – only a merciful, compassionate God can implement this. God, in every instance, has the right to judge the evil, the bad and the wrong. It would be fair. Man is evil and corrupt and God owes him no explanation whatsoever. Then the law came – and maybe we understand that even this is grace, for without the law (as strict as it was in the Old Testament) we would also not perceive or recognize any sin. Also the law is grace, so that we are able to, in this world, recognize death and the devil with the eyes of God. And even as people of his time, and today, are able to recognize God's greatness and holiness to a certain extent (in particular the nation of Israel) they nevertheless backslid time and time again, continued to sin, paid attention to foreign gods (idols) ignored and grieved God.

Still, God remained inclined to forgive, did not act according to the deeds of men, and was slow to anger. The anger will however come, even if it comes at a slow pace. Principally, for the reason to give man time to turn around, to repent, to humble themselves before God, to ask for forgiveness and to stop ignoring God. God is also faithful – keeps His promises (contrary to mankind). David wrote in Psalm 103:1-11 “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.” The fear of God goes hand in hand with the acknowledgement of one's own depravity and one's absolute, legitimate, lost condition. If God was not merciful and gracious, as He reveals to us in His Word in the Bible, He would still be righteous and His treatment of mankind would be just. We owe God eternal praise, love and gratitude from our whole hearts and our whole souls.

(Translated by Linda Gates)


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