“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. “They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’ ” The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. “Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” ”(Exodus 32:7–10, NASB95)
It worries me when people (including myself) don’t take sin seriously . We humans have a tendency to downplay our sinfulness. We have all heard, “The Devil made me do it”, or “I am only human!” We almost excuse our brokenness. Read the verses above one more time. God does not excuse, explain away, or justify our sinfulness. He detests it. He must separate Himself from us when we live in open unrepentant sin. This is the only time in Scripture that I am aware of that God referred to His people, as not His people. Look at what He said to Moses. “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought out from Egypt…” Israel’s transgression had completely severed the relationship they had with God. God even told Moses that He wanted to destroy them for their obstinate and stiff-necked idolatry.
I know we don’t like to talk about sin and punishment much. I understand. It is negative and very uncomfortable. But we must! If we are going to understand and truly appreciate the sweet taste of forgiveness, we must fully grasp the depth of God’s redemptive work. Even in our broken state, God loves us and chooses to redeem as rather than destroy us. This is what Jesus did for us. Paul says in Romans, “God demonstrated His great love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The same was true for the Israelites. If you continue the reading, you will find that Moses pleaded for the children of Israel and God was gracious and forgiving.
Today, let’s face our sinfulness straight on. Let’s accept responsibility for our sinful choices. Join me in taking it all to the foot of the cross and finding them all forgiven and forgotten in the blood of Jesus.