The Double-Edged Sword

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Composite_christ_pantocrator
How we tend to see Jesus–gently blessing or fiercely adhering to the Holy Law. One or the other.

This morning, I was studying Exodus 34, since I’m working my way through the book again. I journaled about verses 6-7 in particular, dwelling on the name of the LORD. When it says lord in all-caps in our Bibles, it’s actually the name that God gives Moses at the burning bush, “I AM,” or יהוה (YHWH). In Hebrew, it more closely translates to “I will be who I will be.” God repeats this name twice before launching into a description of His character, meaning He’s emphasizing the name’s importance. He then speaks of His compassionate nature as well as His judging nature,

 

 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

Exodus 34:6-7
(emphasis mine)

Here are some of my journaled reflections:

“[Because God repeats the name יהוה in emphasis] He’s establishing that His character  not only has always been and will always be what it is, but that this is CERTAINLY the case [not just some of the time].

I was thinking about what I hear people (Christians and non-Christians) say about God’s judging character and His loving character—how they want justice, but not all of God’s judgement. We want His compassion, but not towards everyone. It’s so hard for us to fathom that He loves by His wrath and judgement AND He brings justice by the grace found in Christ. Too often we pick and choose, forgetting we are not God.

God will not let sin stand. He will also be compassionate.

We as humans don’t emulate this well, so we assume God can’t do [both], but He can.

He’s GOD.

May God teach us who He is, and may He help us stop assuming we know because we think we know ourselves and are gods. May we be humbled. May God let rain fall on the just and the unjust.

Christ Pantocrator (Sinai)
A more accurate view of who Jesus is. [Pantocrator Christ icon, found at Mt Sinai]
Let us wisely pursue justice. Let us wisely love our black brothers and sisters in these days. Let us wisely love one another in the conversations we have, with black or white brothers and sisters. Let us wisely pause before we post the things we want to post. Maranatha–come Lord Jesus.

Most importantly, let us listen. We all have a lot of learning to do. The smallest courtesy we can show is listening.

Pursue justice and love mercy.
Know you can’t do so perfectly as a human, but let’s try, friends. And let’s do so in submission to the LORD. Not just man.

– Heidi


Extra Encouragement

  • After journaling, I stumbled upon a video the Bible Project uploaded about these exact verses from Exodus 34, exploring this same concept of God’s mercy and justice existing simultaneously. For more context on these verses, I highly recommend sitting to listen to this six-minute video.
  • This sermon on David’s mercy to Saul in a cave and how it relates to Romans 12 and reconciliation.
  • The book of Nehemiah, particularly chapter one where Nehemiah prays (It’s a short, potent read). It’s a humbling passage that happened to fall upon my Bible study’s readings at the time of the Minneapolis riots. Nehemiah mourns for the vulnerable, unprotected, and hopeless state of Jerusalem. He prays and humbly follows God’s lead towards restoration and healing by patiently rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls after years of Babylonian captivity.

Resources

  • Preston Perry – I’ve been learning a lot about race and what it means to be a believer in light of issues like racism through his videos and things he’s shared on instagram. He also has some great videos about interacting and healthily debating with unbelievers and those of other faiths on his YouTube channel, BoldTV. He consistently tries to back up his thoughts and words with Scripture, and I appreciate that.
  • This YouTube video by Joseph Solomon provided me with some helpful perspective on honoring the Imago Dei in my black brothers and sisters in how I’m intaking and what I’m sharing on social media. There are many good resources for Christians about race and culture on his channel, and he’s already been such a source of encouragement and wisdom in my life (I think I already share something from his channel or podcast every blog post).
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