In this chapter God reveals His Name – which is also a revelation of His character.
The Lord – YHWH (Yahweh/Jehovah) – in Hebrew there are no vowels, so there are two different ways people have pronounced the “tetragrammaton” – the Name of God. Yahweh is most likely the correct pronunciation. This is God’s holy Name.
He is full of compassion and mercy – this is the first thing mentioned about God, and it is important that we remember it is mentioned first.
He is slow to anger (though He has righteous anger) and is filled with unfailing love (“hesed” in Hebrew, also means “faithful love”) and faithfulness – the Lord never fails, and He is always with us and for us.
His love (hesed) is poured out on 1,000 generations – He is timeless and cares for ALL people, and His promises last forever.
He forgives – when we chose to go wrong, when we try but fall short, when we run away from Him – all of these things hurt ourselves, but He loves us and forgives us and calls us back to Himself.
He is a God of justice – this world is in rebellion, each person in their own way. There is punishment, both in the way life works and in our relationship with God. The Lord is just and holy.
There is punishment to the third and fourth generations – which is meant to be a contract to the lavish love to 1,000 generations. The patterns of sin we have get passed on to our kids and grandkids – we have seen this happen, and it is a reminder for us to be faithful to our faithful God – because patterns of right living can get passed down, too.
As we know the Lord, know His character, it can change us more and more into His image, the very image we were created in.