Abounding in Love
(7) He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the sons of Israel. (8) Compassionate and gracious (is) Yahweh, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (9) He will not always contend, nor will he forever maintain (his anger). (10) He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities, (11) for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love to those who fear him. (12) As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed from us our transgressions.
One word repetition stands out in these six verses, “steadfast love” (vss. 8 & 11). Its meaning is enhanced by three synonyms: “compassionate...gracious... slow to anger” (vs. 8). It is the Old Testament equivalent of the New Testament term, “agape,” love that always seeks the best for the other.
Yahweh’s great love is beautifully portrayed in this segment by two similes, each figuratively describing inexhaustible abundance: “as high as the heavens are above the earth” (vs. 11) and “as far as the east is from the west” (vs. 12). In essence, there is no limit to Yahweh’s love for those who are his.
I. Proclaiming Yahweh to be the God of steadfast love (7-10)
II. Portraying how abundant Yahweh’s love truly is (11 & 12)
To grasp the magnitude of Yahweh’s love for us we need to engage both our minds (proclamation) and our hearts (portrayal).
When David states, “He made known his ways to Moses” (vss. 7 & 8), he is likely referring to a passage like God’s great self-revelation in Exodus 34. There we read the following description: “Then Yahweh came down in the cloud and stood there with (Moses) and proclaimed his name, ‘Yahweh.’ And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘Yahweh, Yahweh, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin’” (Ex. 34:5 & 6). Some awe-inspiring truths about Yahweh are set forth in these verses:
- Condescension: God coming down to Moses’ level
- Identification: God standing there communing with Moses
- Revelation: God proclaiming his name to Moses
- Compassion: God showing steadfast love to Moses.
What Yahweh did for Moses encourages us to draw near to our creator and redeemer to seek an ever-deepening relationship with him. Because he is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, he will never turn away from those who truly yearn to know him more intimately but will draw us into ever closer fellowship with himself.