Beloved. The tenderness of the term caresses the heart as it flows from the object of our heart’s desire. The deepest longing of the heart is the knowledge of another’s paramount love for us. Sadly, in our broken world, the cry of many a heart is that of rejection, indifference, even abandonment. Though human love’s flawed efforts may leave you holding a broken heart, may you know today you are the beloved treasure of the heart of God.
Do you know that the Father God of all the universe longs for you? His very heart’s disposition towards you, is nothing other than pure, perfect, all consuming love. What is your perception of God the Father? Who do you think God the Father is in your sin and suffering? When you pray, with whom do you speak, and what are His thoughts towards you? A.W. Tozer begins his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy” with a provocative comment;
What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.A.W.Tozer
God the Father yearns for you, not the public persona you peddle, but the real you underneath everything you show to others. Yet we sit perversely resistant to His overflowing mercies. Our deflection of God’s true heart towards us remains contrary to Scripture’s clear testimony of God’s love for His beloved treasure. The knowledge of God’s heart confounds every intuition we have of who He ultimately is.
the true heart of god
Who is God the Father? Do we envision Jesus Christ as loving, gentle, meek; compassionate lover of sinners, but God the Father as a parsimonious, distant judge who demands punishment for sin? Jesus told Philip upon the inquiry to “show us the Father” in John 14:9, that if they had seen Him, they had seen the Father. What we see in Jesus, is the Father. The Father’s central disposition is not one of judgment while the disposition of Christ one of love. The Triune God is One God, their heart is one of redeeming love, mercy and compassion. From which beautifully satisfies justice and wrath.
Jesus is the express image of the invisible God (2 Corinthians 4:4). Glimpsing the heart of Christ in the Four gospels, we also see all of the compassion and tenderness fully contained in the heart of God the Father. Most certainly God the Father is righteous and just, without question. For without this truth, we have no assurance that all wrongs will one day be righted. But what flows from the deepest recesses of the heart of God the Father? Mercy in abundance, not wrath, not judgment, mercies. From this place, we are the beloved treasure of the heart of God.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.2 Corinthians 1:3
God Reveals His Heart
Scripture’s testimony speaks comprehensibly in the New Testament on who God the Father is, but why not ask Him ourselves? We simply cannot improve upon God’s own testimony as He reveals Himself to Moses in Exodus 34. At the end of Exodus 33, Moses asks God to show him His glory. God tells Moses He will pass by Him to proclaim “His name”, hiding Moses in the cleft of a rock. God granted Moses’ request to see His glory. In Exodus 34:6-7, after God has Moses come up to Mt. Sinai for the second time to receive the Ten Commandments, He shows Moses “his glory”. Second only to the incarnation, this is undoubtedly the high point of divine revelation in all of the Bible.
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.Exodus 34:6
Its importance is echoed in the repeated reference to these words by the prophets to affirm who God is to the people. Numerous texts repeat these words throughout the Old Testament, Lamentations 3:32-33, Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalms 86:5, 103:8, 145:8, Isaiah 63:7, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2 and Nahum 1:3. Confirming Exodus 34:6-7 is not a single mention descriptor of God the Father.
As I mentioned in my post about the patience of God, this staggering declaration comes after the incident with the golden calf. Another intriguing fact comes to light in Exodus 33:19; Moses asked to see God’s glory, and God responds He will make all His goodness to pass before Moses. Goodness? Doesn’t God’s glory relate to His greatness? In a word, “NO”. In speaking of God’s glory, we are in essence speaking of His distinctiveness; “what makes God, God.”
A Heart of Steadfast Love
Sadly, we expect the disposition of God the Father’s heart toward us to be full of retribution for our sinfulness. We cower, fearing a thunderous voice of wrath and judgment, until the words of His lips in Exodus 34 stop us cold. The heart of God the Father exudes mercy, steadfast love, faithfulness; His intrinsic goodness IS His glory.
“Merciful and gracious” are the first articulated words from God’s mouth after He proclaims His name (the “LORD”, I Am or YAHWEH). The first words. He does not proclaim His glory as “judging and wrathful” or “frivolous and tolerant“. His priority and delight, his heart is merciful and gracious. This gracious Heavenly Father continues, adding, “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. This is covenant language, signified by the Hebrew word for “steadfast love”; “hesed”, which refers to God the Father’s binding Himself to His people in an unbreakable bond. He further beautifies the statement by adhering “faithfulness”, indicating He will never give us up. We simply cannot outrun His mercy, get rid of His grace or evade His goodness; His heart is set on us.
A heart bent on swallowing up all our sins
Many struggle accepting Exodus 34:6 in light of Exodus 34:7. I argue that while hard to hear, it is absolutely vital and with reflection, comforting. Why? Notice what God the Father says: His covenant love flows down through a thousand generations, but He visits generational sins to the third or fourth generation. Do you see what happened here? Yes, our sins are passed down to our children and grandchildren. But, God’s goodness is passed down unhindered to a thousand generations in such a way that swallows up all our sins.
beloved treasure of the heart of god
In one way, the Christian life is a transformational journey of our natural assumptions of who God is, slowly replaced by God’s own insistence of who He is. Rest assured, this remains a daunting task, requiring not a few encounters with suffering before we believe God the Father’s heart is “merciful and gracious“. Before we dare believe we are the beloved treasure of the heart of God.
We entertain dark thoughts of wrath and judgment far too easily, attaching them firmly to God the Father’s character. Perhaps the greatest victory satan reaps, is his ability to focus our attention on these dark thoughts of God, keeping us cool and aloof from the only true source of perfect love, mercy and forgiveness.
The final proof of who God the Father is, cannot be found exclusively in Exodus 34, but in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Exodus 34 is but a shadow that one day explodes in time and space at the height of all human history in Jesus Christ. We are told God the Father’s deepest heart in Exodus 34. But we see it in the Galilean carpenter who walked the earth, testifying to that love, proving it once and for all when He went to a Roman cross, descending into a God forsaken hell in our place. That we might forever endure as the unblemished, beloved treasure of the heart of God.
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