Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Lord Relents

In Exodus 32, the Israelites ask Aaron to make gods for them. He made the golden calf. The Lord was angry; He threatened to destroy His people.

Verse 11: "Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God ..."
Verse 14: "So the Lord relented from the harm He said He would to do His people."

I don't know about you, but I usually hear this passage as a prooftext on fervent prayer and how we can make God change His mind.

But was it Moses' praying that caused God to "change His mind"? Moses appealed to God's own word of promise. Moses spoke back to God the same words God had spoken to them: the promise of a Savior. The descendant of Abraham would be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12); He would be the sacrifice that the Lord Himself would provide (Genesis 22). God's wrath did not wipe out the Israelites. It wasn't because they were good; it wasn't because Moses prayed hard enough; it was because His fierce wrath was poured out on His Son who took their rebellion and made it His own.

It is the atonement of the Son of the God --and not the act of praying-- that causes God to save us instead of destroy us.

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