Exodus 34:6-7: 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, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
Note: The last section of this passage speaks of God "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children." Some might want to stop short of this part in memorizing the passage, but we should remember that this, too, is Scripture and is written for our edification. This statement shows the horrible nature of sin in the way it has effects far beyond the individual sinner, also harming those around the sinner and harming future generations as well. We see this in tragic ways in ordinary life, where the children of alcoholics often become alcoholics and the children of abusive parents often become abusive parents.
Christians who are forgiven by Christ should not think of these phrases as applying to them, however, for they are in the other category of people mentioned just before this section on "the guilty": they are among the "thousands" to whom God continually shows "steadfast love," and is continually "forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (v. 7). When someone comes to Christ the chain of sin is broken. Here it is important to remember Peter's words: "You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19).
HYMN "O WORSHIP THE KING"
Almost the entire hymnbook could be used to sing of one aspect or another of God's character. Literally hundreds of hymns would be appropriate. Yet this hymn contains a listing of many of God's attributes and combines them in such a way that the hymn is worthy of being sung again and again. Verse 1 speaks of God's glory, power, love; verse 2 speaks of his might, grace, wrath; and so forth. In verse 6, "ineffable" means "incapable of being expressed fully." The hymn is written as an encouragement for Christians to sing to one another, exhorting each other to "worship the King, all glorious above." Yet in the process of such exhortation the song itself also contains much high praise. O worship the King all glorious above, O gratefully sing his pow'r and his love; Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise. O tell of his might, O sing of his grace, Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space. His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form, And dark is his path on the wings of the storm. The earth with its store of wonders untold, Almighty, your power has founded of old; Has 'stablished it fast by a changeless decree, And round it has cast, like a mantle, the sea. Your bountiful care what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air; it shines in the light; It streams from the hills; it descends to the plain; And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, In you do we trust, nor find you to fail; Your mercies how tender, how firm to the end, Our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend! O measureless might! Ineffable love! While angels delight to hymn you above, The humbler creation, though feeble their ways, With true adoration shall lisp to your praise. Author: Sir Robert Grant, 1833 (based on Psalm 104)
Alternative hymn: "Round the Lord in Glory Seated"
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