Read Exodus 32
Focus on verse 7
Yours, mine, ours…
When our children were younger there were often times when one or more of them would do or say something we thought was impressive and my wife would say something along the lines of “look at what OUR boys are doing”. During that period of parenting, there were also occasions when I would come home from the office to an exasperated and exhausted wife who would say to me, “would you please do something about YOUR children”! Same children – different day.
In today’s reading we encounter a rather interesting anomaly. In all the conversations between Moses and God to this point, God has referred to the people of Israel as “My people”. This is the first time He calls them “your people that you brought up out of Egypt”.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.(v. 7)
I find it interesting that God displays this rather human characteristic in the presence of Moses. In fact, as the rest of the narrative unfolds, God expresses to Moses his intention of wiping out the people and beginning a new nation from Moses descendants. It is only after Moses intercedes and reminds God of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that God’s anger is abated resulting in only about three thousand people being wiped out rather than the entire population.
The fact that it seems that God allowed Moses petition to change the course of His action is problematic to some, but it does not have to be. We might actually find this encouraging since it gives us a glimpse of the influence that our prayers might have in affecting the outcome of events in our lives. Would God have destroyed Israel if Moses had not interceded? We don’t know the answer to that question, it would be speculation at best. We can only know what scripture reveals, and in this case it seems to reveal that the heart of God can be moved to action by the petition of people with whom God has a relationship.
The question then becomes – “What kind of relationship do I have with God?” Is it the kind of relationship that would cause God to change His course of action because of an appeal I make on behalf of another person? I suspect the best way to discover the answer to this question might be to try it.