Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, June 17, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Day 38: Evening
Yahweh is Very, Very Patient
by David Harwood

Let’s review: our love for God is important to the God we love. Why? Here’s a reason: we were successfully created to be those whose love for the Creator is significantly meaningful to Him. He loves our love and, in addition, He cares about us and we need to be in living relationship with Him. Tragically, humanity tends to be self-destructively alienated from God. Therefore, we needed to be instructed to love Him.

Yeshua reiterated and underscored Moses’ words:

“ ‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37b-38 TLV) 

God revealed Himself in the past. He is willing to reveal Himself now. He wants to inspire our love so we will truly love Him. In Exodus 34:5-7, in harmony with His nature, He opened up His heart and showed aspects of the inner relationship of the Triune God. According to that brief passage, God wants us to know this: one thing Yahweh loves about Yahweh is that He is very, very, very patient… very… very patient.

Here’s the record of this self-revelation.

Then Adonai descended in the cloud, (and) stood with him there, as (He) called on the Name of Adonai. Then Adonai passed before him, and proclaimed, “Adonai, Adonai, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means leaving the guilty unpunished, but bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5-7 TLV)

Slow-to-anger is an English translation of a Hebrew idiom that relates to the phenomenon of people’s nostrils enlarging (flaring) when they’re angry. The words speaks of someone’s nose being slow to flare up—long- or slow-nosed. (Is nosed in this context even a word?) God does not suddenly explode with rage. He is very patient. In fact, in the Septuagint this reality is expressed by makrothumos, translated longsuffering or patient.

In the story of God and Israel’s wilderness relationship, we find that over and over again Israel provoked God to the point of wrath. This is sadly true. However, this is not the only provocation going on. God’s compassion and favor provoked Him to patience. His compassion and grace provided a restraining influence. He was longsuffering. This is a quality Yahweh loves about Yahweh. It is part of His glory. It is a way His compassion and favor express themselves.

One thing I don’t want us to miss is that Yahweh’s coming down, standing with, and moving before Moses, calling out “Yahweh, Yahweh,” and proclaiming God’s nature before Moses foreshadows Yeshua’s priestly ministry. God’s Son has come down, stands with us, goes before us into Father’s presence, and ministers to God. The Exodus 34 proclamation is a form of priestly praise-love on behalf of Israel. All of these characteristics of Yahweh are extremely important to God’s people.

To briefly elaborate on Yahweh’s priestly ministry to Yahweh, we can look at Hebrews 2:12.

For both He who sanctifies and those being sanctified are all from one—so He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brothers and sisters. In the midst of the congregation I will sing praise to You.” (Hebrews 2:11-12 TLV) 

Yeshua is the everlasting Priest. There are glimpses of this when He, as Yahweh, proclaimed Yahweh’s goodness.

In His teaching, the Messiah emphasized the connection between God’s patience and His compassion. In the parable that stressed forgiveness, the Lord said:

Then the slave fell on his knees and begged him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll repay you everything.’ And the master of that slave, filled with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt. (Matthew 18:26-27 TLV) 

God’s patience is part of His Ruach’s attributes (Galatians 5:22). It is the first way love expresses itself (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Meditate upon it. Don’t hurry through this. Concentrate on the patience God has with you. Take a deep breath and say “slow” as slowly as you can. (Slooooooooow) Then say… “to anger.” God loves the fact that God loves you enough to be patient with you.

I hope this encourages your love for Him.

Pray: I want to fulfill the Great Command. Please give me fresh revelation into Your patience.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 17 June-2023 28th of Sivan, 5783 Parashat Sh’lach
Nu 15:27-41 Jos 2:1-24 Heb 3:7-4:13