Exodus Devotional | Fall and Forgiveness, Day 5: The Greater Moses
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Fall and Forgiveness, Day 5
“30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. 34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.” - (Exodus 32:30-34)
The Christian faith is built on this value: God is the greatest, highest, and most precious thing the universe has, and ever will, know. Mankind has spent its lifeblood--and spilled it, too--for gold, oil, and dollars, but everything we’ve ever wanted or pursued is a shadow-desire. God has written into the human soul an undeniable heartache for eternity. The things of this world, if we can just get our hands on them...if we can just get enough of them...seem to trick us into believing we’re getting longer lasting health, wealth, and happiness. Eternal life.
But that eternal happiness and security are found in a person--the person--God. His name is Jesus Christ. He doesn’t bring health, wealth, and happiness with him. He is the eternal joy. So, the Christian faith is one that doesn’t say “be a good person and God will give you these good things.” No. Our faith says, “The only good person ever is God and his gift to you is himself.”
The Israelites (and us Christians) have made a grave error. We wanted another god. We’ve put our faith in gold, silver, health, wealth, security, liberties--you name it. We’ve crafted for ourselves silly, shamefully foolish idols. And here in our text today, God says to Moses, “Go. Take the land I promised you. You can have the stuff I promised, you won’t have me. I’m not going to go with you.”
This is a far worse threat than the one he gave Moses earlier. He could have killed the Israelites, but he relented. Here, he says they can keep their lives and even have a really nice land of their own in Canaan--but they won’t be God’s people anymore. He’s going to withdraw from them. This is terrible new. The worst news.
Moses once again intercedes. If only you could leave me...blot my name out of your book of record. Save your people, though. Punish me, abandon me, despise me, but stay with your people! In the next chapter (Exodus 33), Moses intercedes once more and pleads with God to go with his people--please don’t leave us. We won’t go anywhere unless you go with us. Moses knows that no land and no wealth and no power they could lay their hands on would be worth having God depart from them. Kindly and mercifully, God relents, forgives, and stays with Moses and the people.
I need you to see Moses as a real person who serves as a picture of a Greater Moses: Jesus, who is called Immanuel (God with us). Jesus is the God-man who comes near, stays with us, abides with us. He was cast out, punished, and blotted out so that we could become and remain God’s people. He speaks up and acts on our behalf--not only so we can get to Heaven, but so that we can get God, himself. Exodus--and the rest of the Old Testament--are all about Jesus and the gospel good-news: Jesus is the King of the Universe, God himself, who saves sinners and makes them his beloved people. The place we started from this week was dark...and God has brought us to a place of light. The gospel is the greatest and best news the world has ever heard, and it has to start with the worst news.
Don’t stop praying in worship, thanking the Lord for being our saving God. Spend some time talking to him, meditating on your own heart-felt descriptions of who God is: faithful, just, merciful, beautiful, mysterious, and so on.
We always need to find ourselves in the story. We’re the Israelites, who deserve for God to leave us and forget about us. Moses shows us Jesus, who says and does what it takes to please the Father and give us favor with him. The Promised Land is Heaven, but it’s not complete or even worth anything if we were to enter it without God--and God now goes with us.
Ask and then trust that the Lord would be with you--close by, in your heart, transforming your mind, protecting and providing as your Father in Heaven. Know and feel God close by, by drawing near to him in prayer and thought throughout the day. No matter what health, wealth, or happiness you can find for yourself today, it’ll end up tasting like dust in your mouth without God with you.