First Reading: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9

The God of Compassion

How can love be powerful?

4 Moses chiseled two tablets of stone like the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up to Mount Sinai, as Yahweh had commanded him, and took in his hand two stone tablets.

6 YHWH passed by before him, and proclaimed, "YHWH! YHWH, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, 7 keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children's children, on the third and on the fourth generation."

8 Moses hurried and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. 9 He said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us; although this is a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."

World English Bible

Obeying the command of God, Moses cut two new stone tablets and, the next day, climbed Mt. Sinai to present them to the Lord. 34:4b set up God's self-revelation.

In the ancient signs of divine power (cloud and thunder), God came to Moses. He proclaimed his name (YHWH as the sound of thunder). In the same breathe, he proclaimed what kind of deity the Israelites were to expect. YHWH was a compassionate God. He was not a god of war or the harvest or the desert. Through his love for his people, he transcended all these categories. [34:5-6]

Moses reacted in the posture of worship and with a prayer. He took God at his word and prayed for compassion, upon himself and his people. But the last request was the most important. He prayed for a unique relationship. Moses wanted God to make the people "his inheritance," the true object of his compassion. [34:8-9]

We are God's people. We enjoy his compassion, even in the face of opposition and oppression. God's love comforts us, even in the dark times.

How do you experience God? How do you enjoy his love this day?