As leaders, we must embrace God’s presence in the weaknesses of our own lives and we must lead others to do the same. We are called to lead the community of Christ, not to simply entertain segments of contained expressions of the communities of the world. We are to be salt and light, a testimony to those who are bound to the cultures of the world. It is God’s presence in our lives that transforms us to become testimonies of His amazing grace. Our lives are to be a welcome call to all who are in darkness, emptiness, and bound to the confusion of the kingdoms of the world.
In Exodus, Chapter 34 we find an account where God passed before Moses and declared His name. Let’s look at this passage to understand the goodness and the power of our Father’s love in removing the shame of our sin and giving us the goodness of His glory.
Exodus 34:5-7 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Here we find the introduction to the name of God is “the Lord, the Lord God”. In the Stone’s edition of the Hebrew Torah, the rabbinical commentators address this double “Lord” as implying to the love and goodness of God. They state that when the Lord is put in this double context it implies two things. It means that God is the one who forgives us before we sin knowing the full extent of everything we are ever going to do and He forgives us after we sin knowing the full extent of everything we have ever done. The very first experience, atmosphere, ambiance, and reality received when we experience God’s presence in our lives is one of forgiveness. What a wonderful thing! The verses go on to read that God is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness, and abounding in truth. These are all wonderful experiences that flood our lives when God comes to us. Jesus made a way for us to come near to God and experience these things! We have been reconciled to God in Him. The final verse of this passage reads that God keeps His mercy for thousands. The term “thousands” is an interesting symbolic and prophetic number in Scripture. It implies an aspect of eternity. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10), meaning He owns all the cattle. God is God to a thousand generations (1 Chr. 16:15; Ps. 105:8), meaning He is God forever. A day with the Lord is as a thousand years, meaning His day has no end. Here we see that God wants to show mercy for thousands. He wants to show mercy to everyone and He wants to show mercy forever!
God forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin. These three things are often confused, but they are different. They are progressively linked, but it is the testimony of sin that leads to death. Iniquity is the weakness that leads to transgression. Transgression is a rebellion in the human heart that leads to sin. The wage of sin is death. God does not kill sinners; sin kills them. Being disconnected from life results in the consequence of death. Where there is iniquity there will be transgression, where there is transgression there will be sin. God in His amazing character, nature, way, power, and authority comes to forgive us fully. This is even to the root of our sin, the weakness of our hearts.
The next phrase in this verse is not out of context with the preceding descriptions. It says that God does not clear, but rather visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation. The words “the guilty” are not in the original, but are meant to clarify what He does not clear. It is somewhat accurate, but it must be taken into consideration in the context of the previous descriptions. It can only be understood in the context of forgiveness, mercy, grace, longsuffering, abundant goodness, abundant truth, and eternal pardon. It is not a judgment to destroy the person, but a judgment to destroy the root of iniquity that leads to sin. It is simply what happens to the iniquity when God visits it. God’s presence eradicates the flaw and heals the heart and mind.
If your Bible translation uses the word “sin” for “iniquity” here it is in error to the original. It is the Hebrew word “avon” (iniquity) and not the word “chattaah” (sin). It is the flaw within us that causes us to come to sin. It is the weakness, or the propensity to transgress that leads to sin. Think of it as a characteristic that has the potential of becoming your character. You may have inherited a negative characteristic, but it doesn’t have to become your character. God wants to visit the place of weakness and transform it to become a place of His strength and testimony. The weakness is your place of dependency upon God that can lead to greater life when you depend upon Him. It doesn’t have to become your character. You can be a scribe in the kingdom of God that unlocks the door to new things in your family line that have never been seen, heard, or thought before. You can restore things antique and lost before your time in your family destiny.
Matthew 13:52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
God doesn’t just offer forgiveness for iniquity, transgression, and sin. He offers the cure to the root of our sin. He promises to “visit” the area of weakness in our hearts that has been inherited from our fathers in the flesh. He promises to be God to the future generations of our family and to ultimately heal the manifestations of sin in our family DNA. This is good news! This is the complete taking away of the sins of the world. This is not an excuse for us to continue to sin, but rather a hope for the complete cure. In Christ, we find that cure. Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
This ought to give you some food for thought. God doesn’t come to judge us. He comes to heal us. If we find ourselves in the consequence of some judgment, it is because we are holding on to things that God has already judged. Jesus made a way for us to have life and that life more abundantly! These things are not just automatic; they must be appropriated in Christ. Jesus offers it to all, but we must choose to receive all that He gives. He truly is good and we must simply receive the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
Saying something is not right in your life is not the same as saying something is not right with you. Proper parenting is meant to help us with the issues of our hearts and to give us proper identity in life. Fathers and mothers give identity. As leaders, we have a responsibility of parents in the community of God.
Proverbs 6:20-28 My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck. 22 When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?
The seductress can be anything that draws us away from the way and things of God. Iniquity in our hearts will leave us vulnerable to transgression that will lead to sin in our lives. God wants to transform us so that who we are today is who we were meant to be in Him!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson