Exodus 34 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“And the L_rd descended in the cloud, and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of the L_rd. And the L_rd passed by before him, and proclaimed: ‘The L_rd, the L_rd God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and unto the fourth generation.’” Exodus 34:5-7
In Western culture, the number “13” is considered an unlucky number, as superstitions go. The Jewish mindset considers number 13 to be blessed. Here’s why. In Hebrew, there are no “numbers” per se, so every letter is ascribed a numerical value. For instance, the letter “alef” (A) is also #1. In the Shema (Deut 6:4) God is described as being “One”. The Hebrew name for “One” is “Echad”. The numerical value for “Echad” is: 13.
A bit mystic, I admit. And people can go crazy trying to reckon numbers & words, looking for “codes” in the Bible. The only reason I mention it is because G_d announces Himself to Moses in the thirteen spiritual ideas concerning His Divine Nature. Ironically, perhaps, but the One we know as “Echad” is announcing Himself by a list of “13”.
1) The L_rd, the L_rd G_d. Heb: Adonai, Adonai. Adonai denotes G_d in His attribute of mercy…most specifically His CONSTANCY. The repetition was traditionally considered to mean that G_d is merciful before a man sins, and after he sins…which is consistent with the greater narrative of Exodus 20-34.
2) G_d. Heb: El The almighty L_rd of the universe, ruler of nature and mankind.
3) Merciful. Heb: rachun G_d is full of affectionate sympathy for the sufferings and miseries of human frailty
4) Gracious. Heb: ve-channun He assists and helps, consoling the afflicted and raising-up the oppressed.
5) Long Suffering Heb: erech appayim The L_rd is not hastening to punish the sinner, but offers him opportunities to repent.
6) Abundant in goodness. Heb: rav chesed He grants His gifts and blessings beyond what man deserves
7) Truth. Heb: ve-emet He is eternally true to Himself
8) Keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation. Heb: notzer chesed la-alafim He remembers the righteousness of the ancestors and reserves reward and recompense to the remotest descendants who will turn to Him.
9) Forgiving iniquity. Heb: noseh avon He bears with the indulgence and failings of man, and by forgiveness, He restores them to purity
10) Transgression. Heb: pesha Evil deeds spring from malice and rebellion against G_d
11) Sin. Heb: Chattaah Shortcomings by refusal to heed, or ignorance of G_d’s Word
12) Will by no means clear the guilty. Heb: venakkeh lo yenakkeh…literally, ”Acquitting the penitent but not the impenitent.”
13) Visiting…upon the children. This relates only to the CONSEQUENCES of sin.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Friday, April 4, 2014