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.” (Exodus 34:6-7)
God Abounds In Goodness
It did not take long for the children of Israel to turn away from God and seek after the golden calves of Egypt. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the law from the Lord, the people urged Aaron to make them gods to worship. Aaron created a golden calf, and the people rose early in the morning offering burnt offerings, peace offerings, and playing the whoredom of idolatry. Moses returned from the mountain in anger and threw the commandments of stone down, pulverized the calf to powder and made the people drink the water filled with its residue. Three thousand men died that day and the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made. The Lord relented from the destruction he sought against the Hebrews and Moses was instructed to make new tablets to write the commandments upon. God renews the covenant with Israel and the journey to the promised land begins.
The Lord showed His great power to the Hebrews through the plagues, death of the firstborn, miracle at the Red Sea and the defeat of the Amalekites. There should be no reason for them to doubt His power and might to accomplish whatever He determined for His nation. Sadly, the heart of the people lacked the commitment and devotion to follow the Lord fully. After the incident of the golden calf, God shows Moses the measure of mercy and grace toward a rebellious people. The character of Jehovah God is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth. All of these attributes are essential to understanding who God is and why He does what He does. It would be easy for the Lord to destroy the whole nation and begin anew. He does not.
God is good to Israel because God is good. His goodness is abundant, plentiful, rich, and full of divine grace beyond measure. God is not good because He does good things; He is good because that is what He is – fully. He will not forget His people, and He will not abandon them, treat them with indifference, or neglect them. Everything about the character of God is the goodness He showers upon the rebellious hearts of men. Adam and Eve rejected His will and the goodness of God saved them. The world turned completely away from the Lord, but the goodness of the Lord spared eight souls in the ark. Humanity rejects the will of God, and the Father sends His only begotten Son to die for everyone. Sin troubles the lives of the righteous and yet the goodness of the Lord forgives.
God is good but He will not allow the guilty to go unpunished. The goodness of God should not convince the ungodly they will be spared from judgment. Forgiveness comes only to those who seek the mercy of the Lord as they change their hearts through godly sorrow. Mercy is only offered to the righteous. God is good as found in Jesus Christ. The goodness of God is found in His word that tells men how to be saved. On the final day of judgment, the goodness of God will be the measuring stick for those who are saved and those who are lost. For those who are saved, God’s goodness abounds every day looking forward to the abundance of glory found in Heaven. God is good. Thank God.