Exodus 34:5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with (Moses on Mt. Sinai), and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” 6 The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
In our passage, God described himself to Moses. He is a God of mercy, but also a just God who exacts punishment from the guilty “to the third and the fourth generation”. This would seem to be a contradictory statement.
The only way this makes sense is if God is describing unconfessed sin, not sin in general. Reminds me of the verse from 1 John in the New Testament, “If we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness”. Confessing our sins gives us freedom and new life. Retaining our sins will burden us indefinitely – even into future generations.
Makes me wonder where I may be holding on to unconfessed sin in my life. Am I willing to humble myself before the Lord and repent? Or will I continue carrying the weight of my iniquities?
Heavenly Father, you truly are merciful – and just. Give us grace to come clean with you. Give us humble spirits that we might cast the burden of our sins upon you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.