Character of God

– [Jon] The Bible is a collection Of many ancient Israelite scrolls, And together they're
telling one unified story. – [Tim] Now, if you look
at the second scroll, Exodus, You'll find two important sentences. They're actually so important
that they're referenced And re-quoted over 20 more
times within the Bible itself. – [Jon] It must be important. What does it say? – [Tim] "Yahweh, Yahweh,"
that's God's name, "a God compassionate and
gracious, slow to anger, "overflowing with loyal love
and faithfulness." – [Jon] I can see why
it's repeated so often. These attributes of God are really lovely. – [Tim] And the statement goes on. "He maintains loyal love for
thousands, forgiving iniquity, "transgression, and sin, "yet he won't declare innocent the guilty, "he will bring the iniquities "of the fathers upon the children "and grandchildren to the
third and the fourth." – [Jon] Okay. Hold on. This last part takes a bit of a turn. We're first talking about God's love, And suddenly it's about
his judgment on grandkids. So is God merciful or vengeful? – [Tim] Yeah, great question. Let's see these words in a larger context By looking at something
important in Genesis, The first scroll of the Bible. There God chooses one family, The Israelites, from among the nations, And he promises that he's
going to rescue the whole world

Through this family somehow. – [Jon] And Genesis ends
with the family of Abraham In Egypt. – [Tim] Then the book of Exodus begins, And this book has two large movements. – [Jon] Right, Okay, so this first movement of Exodus, God rescues Israel from slavery in Egypt. – [Tim] And in the second movement, God leads them to Mount Sinai Where they camp out for a year. And God invites this whole nation Into a partnership called a covenant So that they can be shaped
by his values and character. – [Jon] And represent God
to all the other nations. – [Tim] Exactly. Now this whole Mount
Sinai movement in Exodus Can be broken up into four literary units. First, there's the actual ceremony Where the Israelites agree
to be God's partners, And God sets up the
terms of the relationship Starting with the ten commandments. The first two are … – [Jon] Don't give your
allegiance to other gods And don't make any idol images of God. Seem simple enough. – [Tim] After that, God
shows Moses detailed blueprints For building this sacred home So that God can come and live among them. – [Jon] Oh, right. And then comes a really long narrative About the building of that sacred home. – [Tim] But you missed something. Right in between these sections

Is the story that has our
description about God's character. The story begins with Moses
going up on the mountain, Writing down the partner agreement As the Israelites are at
the base of the mountain Violating the first two commands. – [Jon] That's ridiculous. They're breaking the covenant vows While the ceremony is still going on. – [Tim] Yes. And so God is hurt and
angry, and he warns Moses That this betrayal will keep on happening. God is ready to call it quits. – [Jon] But what about his promise To rescue the world through them? – [Tim] Yeah, exactly. This is what Moses brings up. And so what is God gonna do? Should he end the partnership,
which would be fair? – [Jon] Or will he be faithful
to his promise to Abraham And show them mercy? – [Tim] Yeah, exactly. Now look back at the
words that we began with, And you'll see They are about this very
tension between God's mercy And his justice. – [Jon] Okay, so the
statement opens like this, "a God compassionate and gracious." – [Tim] In Hebrew, This line has three words that
rhyme, "el rahum hannun." And the line "overflowing with loyal love And faithfulness" matches the first, As it also has three Hebrew words, "rab hesed emet." – [Jon] Each of those lines
have two attributes of God,

And they surround a fifth attribute That God is slow to anger. – [Tim] Right. Now, that's the first half
of this description of God, Then comes the second half. "God maintains loyal love for thousands." And how is he going to remain loyal To people who keep rebelling against him? By forgiving iniquity,
transgression, and sin. – [Jon] But God's forgiveness Doesn't mean people can
just do whatever they want. – [Tim] Right. God's mercy is balanced in what follows. "Yet he won't declare innocent the guilty, "he'll bring the iniquities of
the fathers upon the children "and grandchildren to the
third and the fourth." – [Jon] The third and the fourth what? – [Tim] Well, it's referring
to generations of people Who repeat their ancestors'
rebellion against God. They'll get what they deserve. But notice, this small
number of generations Contrasts that massive number up above. – [Jon] God's loyal love to thousands. – [Tim] Right. And then check this out. God's forgiveness of iniquity in this line Is contrasted with his justice
on iniquity in this line. – [Jon] Okay. And all those lines are
surrounding a central line here About God's justice. "He will not declare innocent the guilty." So while God is slow to
anger, he is also just. – [Tim] Right. This is the tension that these
two sentences are exploring.

How does a faithful and loyal God Deal with such a rebellious people? This is the challenge
God faces in this story, And it's the same challenge He faces in the whole biblical story As he works to rescue the
world through this family. – [Jon] With that in mind, We can take a closer look
at these five attributes That God declares about himself to Moses. A God compassionate and
gracious, slow to anger, Overflowing with loyal love
and faithfulness. – [Tim] And we'll see how
each one leads us deeper Into the character of God and
into the story of the Bible. (soft music)

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