What Is God Like?

While on earth, Jesus demonstrated mercy by meeting the needs of people in deep trouble. In doing so He was only following the pattern laid down for us in the Old Testament, where God is pictured as full of mercy. Take, for example, the LORD’S self-revelation on Mount Sinai after Moses asked to see His glory. Though no man could look directly upon God and live, Moses was granted a stunning verbal description of Yahweh: The LORD [Yahweh], the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. (Exodus 34:6-6) In one form or another, this same collection of words occurs at least six times in the Old Testament. Clearly, God wanted to impress upon His people the core of His nature. As John would later write, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The people of Israel had offended their Lord by making a golden calf and worshiping it with wild revelries and debauchery. Instead of exterminating them, however, God forgave them at Moses’ request. Thus, God displayed His mercy as forgiveness of “iniquity, transgression, and sin.” Blessed are all those who imitate our gracious God!