God is known as our Father in heaven. Each of us had a father on earth. It is said that each of us initially views the nature of our heavenly Father as being like our earthly father. If your father was missing, distant or did not spend much time with you, then you might see your heavenly Father as distant from you. If your father was harsh, critical or often angry, you might see your heavenly Father as harsh or critical or angry with of you. If your father was greatly involve in your life, then you might see your heavenly Father as close and involved in your life. If your father was very loving, you might see your heavenly Father as very loving. Our initial view of our heavenly Father can very well be based upon our relationship with our earthly father. But our earthly fathers were human and often had faults. We need to adjust our view of our heavenly Father based upon what is revealed to us in the Bible.
We have a scripture where God describes Himself. Moses was upon the mountain and the Lord revealed Himself to Moses. Exodus 34:5-7 “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 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.’” Let us analyze God’s description of Himself.
First, He describes Himself as the Lord God, Jehovah. He is over all creation. He is all powerful. He is all knowing and all seeing. He is Lord over you and has the right to tell you what to do and to order your life.
Second, He describes Himself as “merciful and gracious”. Later in this passage, He describes Himself as “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Even though you are a sinner and deserve nothing, He is merciful to you. Joel 2:13 “So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Third, He describes Himself as “longsuffering”. God is longsuffering because He wants you to repent and change. Romans 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” 2 Peter 3:8-9 “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Fourth, He describes Himself as “abounding in goodness and truth”. Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” God gives of His goodness even to those who don’t deserve it. Psalm 33:5 “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” God is the source of goodness and truth in contrast to Satan who is evilness and falsehood.
Fifth, He describes Himself as “by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.” Although God is full of goodness, He is also severe to those who reject Him and rebel against Him. Romans 11:22 “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”
Praise your Father in heaven for being the wonderful God that He is! I encourage you to form a correct view of your God. The Bible reveals many more attributes of God than those that are covered here. From His description of Himself in Exodus 34:5-7 we learn that He is Lord God; He is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. There is goodness and severity with God. 1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”