5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34)
This account of the Lord revealing himself to Moses is quite interesting in the sense that Moses does not describe a visual to detail his experience of ‘seeing’ God even though the account talks of the Lord coming down in a cloud, standing with Moses and passing in front of him- surely we would think, Moses would have seen something! But we get nothing in terms of a visual.
The reason why the Bible and several other religions vehemently oppose building any idols to represent God is because the infinite God cannot be contained. Any attempt to contain him would be to insult the very nature of the uncontainable God. Yet, there exists a need to understand God. And the best way to represent God would be define him in terms of his character because the Biblical concept of God is one of a personal God. When we look at the nature of man and his personality, it is only logical to ascribe personality to the One who created man.
So then, what is the personality of God? How is God like in his very essence?
And in the account of Moses experiencing the proximity of God, he hears a voice declaring the love and justice of God. We might think- what was the voice like? Was it a thunderous voice? A soft voice? A manly voice? A childish voice? We don’t know, but we do know that the declaration of the voice also carried with it the meanings ascribed to the Lord in the passage.
Is it not interesting that in animated movies (which these days, are so much more viewable than routine movies), famous actors lend their voices to characters? There is a reason why directors of such movies hire established actors for just their voice- they have the talent to convey so much more with words compared to most people! When God came down to Moses, it was not just words he heard, he also felt the immeasurable love of God and the immutable justice of God being conveyed to him in a way far beyond what his senses would normally appreciate.
Any person who has felt the proximity of God would attest to the fact that when he feels the proximity and the love of God, it is not just emotions, or ideas that captivate him, but a deeper connection that somehow reaches down to his very core and moves him unlike any other force ever can. The same is true of the justice and holiness of God. You come away having ‘touched’ something so pure that no evil can even come near, even though it be for a few moments.
A love that has no limits, a justice that is enduring, a nature that is perfect-are all found at the very essence of the nature of God. What Moses was given to enjoy for a few moments, we have today forever through the sacrificial blood of Christ, that takes us to the very heart of God.
- AN ANTIDOTE TO WEARINESS