EXODUS 32:1-33:23 | MATTHEW 26:69-27:14 | PSALM 33:1-11 | PROVERBS 8:33-36
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The fascinating account of Moses’ exchange with God continues where Moses is given the two tablets and prepares to bring them back to the people, but when he descends from the mountain, he sees that things are not what they used to be. The people are doing the one very thing that is abhorrent to God: idol worship. And they are led by none other than Aaron himself, Moses’ brother, and previously designated Chief Priest.
Are you sufficiently shocked?!
How do these things happen? Here is the God who has provided for them day in and day out, but the one thing that is asked of the people they cannot adhere to. And what about that Aaron– he certainly had feet of clay! But so it goes. It is the weak who are chosen for greatness, and if anything, it is their very weakness that might make them most eligible for greatness!
However, in the midst of all this, Moses does the most regrettable thing of his life. In his utter shock and dismay, he drops the two tablets to the ground. There is nothing perfect and planned in any of this.
The plan continues to evolve as circumstances dictate. Moses is outraged; Aaron is repentant; God is utterly disappointed; and the people forlorn. Such is the state of things.
But Moses, for all his stammering and earlier timidity has one thing that is consistent: he knows a thing or two about reasoning with God. When God tells Moses he is through with leading them, it is Moses who reminds God of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! It is Moses who persuades God to stick around! And God relents.
God says to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
What a fascinating account!
May it be that we all aspire to have that kind of relationship with God: one where we might be so bold as to reason with him so as to have him change his mind! Although it is another matter altogether if we always know what is good for us!
Turning next to Matthew, we continue onward with what is to come after Jesus’ arrest. But first there is realization and remorse. Peter willfully denies knowledge of knowing Jesus– not once, not twice, but three times. And Judas, the disciple who rested his head on Jesus’ bosom and greeted him with a kiss in order to turn him over to the crazed authorities realizes not too much later what exactly he has done.
And so it is with us. We choose evil. But sometimes we are so fortunate so as to realize the error of our ways and do something about it before it is too late. And here’s the rub: even though it might be too late to undo things, it is never too late to make amends. Peter knew this truth: he goes on to become an even stronger believer as we will see down the road. But Judas is filled with so much remorse that he fails to pause and consider going back to make amends. He takes the easy way out. It might be the easy way out, but it is never the right way out.
Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find David exhorting the reader to offer praise to the Lord. He says:
1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Finally, Solomon continues to offer an exhortation worthy of repeating:
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.