Thursday 07 April 2011

Bible Book:

"But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, 'O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?'" (v. 11)

Exodus 32:7-14 Thursday 7 April 2011


Exodus charts Moses' difficult journey from his earliest days asan adopted child in Pharaoh's palace to the time when he leads hispeople through the Red Sea and out of slavery. It describes themany years of desert wandering that followed their escape and thevarious challenges and miracles experienced as God's laws are madeknown to them and leads them into a new future.

Atthe beginning of chapter 32, Moses finds himself at a crucialpoint in the history of Israel's relationship with God. Having beenrescued from slavery in Egypt, the people wandered through thedesert for many weeks (Exodus19:1) facing many challenges. Inchapter 19 Moses meets with God on MountSinai and is given the ten commandments and in the chapters thatfollow he is given many detailed instructions as to theconstruction and contents of the tabernacle which will be theIsraelites' portable place of worship. In chapter 32, Moses is toldthat while he has been on the mountain the people have rebelled.They have constructed a golden calf and are worshipping it in theabsence of Moses' guidance. God threatens disaster and destructionpromising to raise up later a new greater generation of God'speople in their place. But Moses intercedes on their behalfpleading with God to forgive them, and the people are spared God'swrath.

This conversation between Moses and God raises some fascinatingquestions about God and about prayer. Does Moses truly change God'smind or is there subtler reason for this threat of destruction?After all it is the threat of punishment by God that forces Mosesto recognise the miraculous help he has received in the past. Thissame threat causes Moses to say to God that the Egyptians willremember an angry, punishing God not a redeeming loving one if thepeople are punished for their sin.

To Ponder

To what extent is prayer a means of changing theworld and to what extent is it about deepening our understanding ofGod?

What might you have done in Moses' place?

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