Two of the most striking verses in the Bible, I assume, are these:
“If Your presence does not go with us,” Moses replied, “do not lead us up from right here. 16For how then can it be recognized that Your people today and I have located favour in Your sight, unless You go with us? How else will we be distinguished from all the other people today on the face of the earth?”… (Exodus 33:15-16)
“For I was ashamed to request of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to guard us against the enemy along the way, due to the fact we had told the king, The hand of our God is upon all them for very good who seek Him, but His energy and His wrath are against all these who forsake Him.” (Ezra eight:22)
I enjoy these verses and discover them thrilling due to the fact they testify so strongly -and humanly – to a partnership with God, the world’s creator, in which our possibilities and words and actions have consequences and influence – just as in any essential partnership.
In the 1st instance, above, God is fed up with the treacherous, grumbling, stiff-necked Jews who, in spite of repeated and spectacularly miraculous indicators that He was with them, serially betrayed His trust and had been callously disloyal. Just as anybody would be in such situations, God, intensely hurt, considers abandoning them:
“Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey but I will not go up amongst you …” (Exodus 33:three)
Exodus 33 follows tough upon the verses in which we study about the Jews’ worshipping of the golden calf, which idolatry was a extremely “fantastic sin” (32:11) God by no means the much less tells Moses to take the people today to the land He promised them:”I will give it” (33:1). And, what is extra, He will send an angel prior to them to drive their enemies from this land “flowing with milk and honey”. But – and this is heart-breaking – God tells Moses that He, Himself, will not go with the Hebrews any additional, “lest I destroy you on the way” for they are “a stiff-necked people today”(33:three)
How intensely sad. God’s evident grief and discomfort right here echo that expressed in other, later, harrowing Biblical verses, such as:
“1I revealed Myself to these who did not ask for Me I was located by these who did not seek Me. I stated: “Here I am! Right here I am!” to a nation that did not contact My name. 2All day lengthy I have held out My hands to an obstinate people today, who stroll in the incorrect path, who stick to their personal imaginations… “(Isaiah 65:1-two)
God revealed to Moses that His nature is enjoy, graciousness and compassion (Exodus 34:six) but also, He is a just and amazing God, who can not but punish unrepentant wickedness:
“… sustaining enjoy to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. However He does not leave the guilty unpunished…” (Exodus 34:7)
Clearly, having said that, God will go out of His way to stay clear of obtaining to punish even the most grievous of sins. He would rather leave the Hebrews to an angel and relinquish the joy of watching them assume their (undeserved) inheritance, than threat getting moved to destructive wrath by accompanying them additional. This is a Father’s heart. This is the heart of the Prodigal’s father – permitting his wayward son to squander his undeserved inheritance, far from dwelling, however watchful, each day for the son’s penitent return. This is unassailable, barely comprehensible enjoy.
Moses, God’s correct pal, understood this. And Moses was not about to watch God retreat in a state of agonised rejection, and leave this unruly people today in the hands of a single warrior angel and an exhausted, ageing leader. Neither was he about to shed his closest and most trustworthy pal. Just after all, even Aaron – Moses’ personal brother and God’s Higher Priest – had verified treacherous to Moses, as effectively as God.
And so, Moses dares to cause with God in a desperate, extremely human manner, persuading the creator of the universe that if He does not continue to accompany them, he’s not going either and also, had God thought of that if He’s not with them, people today will say there is no truth in the Hebrews’ claim that they are His selected people today? You can hear and envision the desperation and terror in Moses’ voice – anything he had striven and lived for to this moment depended on God’s response.
“Is it not in Your going with us, so that we are distinguished … from all the other people today on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:16)
And, due to the fact God sees the “loving-kindness and mercy” (33:17) in Moses’ heart, He capitulates instantaneously and says:
“…I will do this point…” (Exodus 33:17)
and extra than this, our awesome God adds:
“…I will be gracious, and show mercy and loving kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving kindness.” (33:19)
What relief, joy and renewed faith need to have flooded Moses’ heart in that moment!
There is no haughtiness or pride in God’s apparent adjust of heart it is complete. There is instantaneous forgiveness, enjoy and compassion, due to the fact one particular man’s heart was moved, in enjoy, to supplication. We get the impression that God just desires to asked. And in the immediate Moses ‘prevailed’ with God (even though we can not know the mystery of this apparent occurrence), how quite a few thousands had been saved on what would otherwise have been an even extra perilous journey?
Hundreds of years later, in about 500 BC, the Prophet and Priest, Ezra, was extremely fearful, on setting out on his personal journey from Babylon to Jerusalem, to encourage the remnant in their rebuilding of the Temple, destroyed decades earlier by Nebuchadnezzar. Ezra was entrusted with fantastic riches and a letter of approval from King Artaxerxes, to assistance the rebuilding, and he was also travelling with quite a few guys who had been Heads of Jewish households, and their households. The journey would be a 900 mile, four month one particular from Babylon to Jerusalem and fraught with issues. There was substantial regional enmity against the Jews and significantly worry from other Kings, of the former Jewish could possibly that had produced David and Solomon fantastic. When far from Artaxerxes’ army, who knew what violence could possibly be perpetrated against this exodus from Babylon?
Having said that, Ezra quelled his extremely human misgivings and, like Moses, realised that his leadership and fantastic duty had been commissions from God 1st and Artaxerxes, second. For this cause, he resisted the temptation to ask the King for an armed guard if God was with them, what could come against them? (Romans eight:31) And so, he wrote these extremely human words (also quoted above) that honestly convey the struggle he had, to trust God wholly, provided his situations:
“For I was ashamed to request of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to guard us against the enemy along the way, due to the fact we had told the king, The hand of our God is upon all them for very good who seek Him, but His energy and His wrath are against all these who forsake Him.” (Ezra 22)
And, of course, when Ezra fell to his knees in worship, and supplication that God would strengthen and be close to him, God promptly answered and honoured his faith:
“…He heard our entreaty” (Ezra eight:23)
Each Moses and Ezra knew that with no God, they had been weak and vulnerable. With Him, they had been invincible. And what was extra, it was crucial that they acted as even though God was with them, so that the rest of the globe could possibly know they had been favoured and also seek the protection and enjoy of this God.
How significantly closer – even than breath – is this astounding God to every single of us, due to the fact He permitted His only son to shed His blood, that He could possibly save us from the logical corollary of our rebellion? With the death and resurrection of Jesus, God purchased the globe however extra time. He postponed the judgement that need to come due to the fact it is not possible to save these who pick to stay prodigal.
Let these of us who stroll with God continue to beseech His mercy for ourselves, and these other folks, whom He loves as effectively as He loves us that the day ultimately comes when, even far off – maybe barely in a position to stroll – they seem, placing one particular foot in front of the other, on their journey dwelling to a waiting, compassionate and instantaneously forgiving Father.