In the four verses from Exodus 32, Moses builds a convincing case that averts God’s wrath against the Israelites. By mentioning God’s powerful involvement and mighty intervention in bringing the people out of Egypt, Moses—the great advocate of the disobedient people—skillfully reframes the situation and the judgment of the Divine. In addition, Moses intentionally redirects the focus and energy of the Powerful One to God’s original promises to multiply descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.
I never question the fulfillment of God’s promises because the experience of divine presence, provision, and protection demonstrates unmerited amazing grace. When and how often have other people’s supplications on our behalf changed our situation or direction? As Moses enthusiastically petitions for “his” people, how have you heard his rejoicing in what God’s powerful and mighty hand delivers? When Moses calmly and gently reminds the Lord of past divine promises, Moses also provides a model for our supplication with thanksgiving while making our requests known to God. Given God’s response to the people’s disobedience helps us bear in mind that God’s mercy and wrath are great. Moses’ intervention helps temper God’s judgment on the people and turn it toward mercy.
Who has intervened for you? What worries do you have today that you can turn over in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to the Lord who will provide? When and where have you witnessed God’s awesome intervention in your life, which has readied you to claim the grace God offers?
Lord, who is present, thank you for your continuous presence and participation in my life! Today, I lift up for your intervention as you know that person’s needs. Thank you for providing and protecting this person in ways that only you can perceive. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
In Exodus 33 Moses successfully argues that without Yahweh’s merciful presence Israel is no nation and that Yahweh’s and Moses’ efforts have come to naught. Psalm 99 mentions Yahweh’s royal rule, which brings to mind the human agents of that rule: Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. Each of these leaders facilitated Yahweh’s conversation with the people and Yahweh’s rule over them. The opening lines from First Thessalonians raise a question about the church’s understanding of evangelism. Paul and his coworkers experience a change in themselves because of the Thessalonians, who become a living proclamation of the gospel by virtue of their ready acceptance of it. In the Gospel reading, Jesus answers a question with a question and confuses his “audience” both then and today.
• Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you most longed for a glimpse of God’s glory? How did God give you the assurance you needed?
• Read Psalm 99. Where in your life is forgiveness needed to restore a loving relationship? How have you experienced “a forgiving God”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. As your Christian faith has developed, how have you seen it move “from head to heart to hands”?
• Read Matthew 22:15-22. How do you give to God “the things that are God’s”? What are some of those things Jesus wants you to give?
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