How often is God’s self-description quoted in the Bible?

This past Sunday, I noted that one of the most important passages in the Old Testament is God’s description of himself in Exodus 34:6-7, which reads,

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 on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

This sermon God gives about himself, about his character, has profound ripples throughout the rest of the Bible. I mentioned in the sermon that this was one of the most-quoted passages in the Bible, and so I thought it might be interesting to list all of the other mentions of it:

  1. Psalm 86:15 — “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
  2. Joel 2:13 — “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
  3. Psalm 103:8-13 — “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
  4. Psalm 145:8 — “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
  5. Nehemiah 9:17 — “They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”
  6. Jonah 4:2 — “And he prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.'”
  7. Numbers 14:17-19 — “And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.””
  8. Psalm 86:5 — “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”
  9. 2 Chronicles 30:9 — “For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”
  10. Micah 7:18 — “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.”
  11. Ephesians 1:7-8 — “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight”
  12. Deuteronomy 5:10 — “Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
  13. Romans 2:4 — “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
  14. Psalm 116:5 — “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.”
  15. Psalm 111:4 — “He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.”
  16. Psalm 112:4 — “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”
  17. Jeremiah 32:18 — “You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts”

When the Bible mentions something over and over and over again, it wants us to really focus on it, understand it, internalize it, and meditate on it. This passage certainly calls for such attention!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: