The Lord had finished communing with Moses on Mount Sinai, giving him instructions for the children of Israel, (Exodus 31:18). The next chapter, Exodus 32, records the sin of the people rebelling against the Lord because Moses had been absent up the mount for a lengthy period and they were tired of waiting for his return. They had judged Moses delayed return as abandonment. There is a lesson here: DELAY IS NOT ABANDONMENT. God was very busy communing with Moses for the people. How often do we misjudge God’s ways?
It appeared that Aaron was greatly concerned with the disgruntled attitude of the masses, and very wrongly, in fear, tried to placate them by making an image of a golden calf for them to worship, which resulted in their degenerated behaviour, (Exodus 32). The Lord was angry when He saw them and bid Moses return down the mountain to them, (Exodus 32:7-10). Verse 10 records the Lord’s anger, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and I will consume them, and I will make of thee a great nation.”
Verse 11 onward records Moses plea, as he besought the Lord to turn from his anger toward the people and repent of the evil to wipe them all out. Moses reminds God of His word, knowing that He cannot deny Himself: Ex.32:13-14, “Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of, will I give to your seed and they shall inherit it forever.
And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” The Lord took note of Moses plea for the people. Jesus is our Moses. Moses represented the law under the old covenant, but we are now under the new covenant. Through His finished work on Calvary, Jesus as our great High Priest, pleaded for all mankind, took the punishment for the sin of the world, past, present and future. Our holy God abhors sin, but because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for all the sin of mankind, once and for all, those who receive Jesus as their Saviour, can now be seen by our Heavenly Father as forgiven and standing in the righteousness of His Son.
Hebrews 10:14 says of Jesus, “For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
Through the completed plan of redemption, God is not holding sin against us anymore, the ultimate sacrifice was paid with the life blood of the holy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and the wrath of God for sin was satisfied. Calvary fulfilled the new covenant. What a gracious God!
Many Believers suffer great condemnation when they sin after redemption, not understanding the cause of their sin. Pride is the cause of sin and God resists the proud, 1 Peter 5:5-6 “….for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” God resists the proud, therefore according to this scripture, humbling is my obligation. The sin problem was dealt with at Calvary, forgiveness for all the sin of mankind was purchased by the offering of the blood and body of the Son of God. Forgiveness for sin is settled. God will not hold my failure against me because the sin offering was made at Calvary, “once and for all.” God resists me, according to scripture, because of my pride. If I am struggling with a particular sin in my life, God will leave the sin to bring attention to the cause of it, my pride. When I beseech the Holy Spirit of God to show me where I am in pride, He will direct me to it, which is the cause of my sin. God resists those in pride, requiring an embracing and acknowledgement of the truth His Spirit will guide us to regarding ourselves. When we humble ourselves, repent and ask forgiveness, the Lord forgives and delivers us. We receive not only pardoning grace, but changing grace as He cleanses us and gives us a brand new start.
Pride is the spider, (cause of sin), sin is the cobweb. There is no point in dusting cobwebs down if you do not catch the spider! Catch the spider!
Let us now return to our previous account of Moses standing in the gap and appealing to the Lord for the people. In a sense, Moses’ plea was prophetic for when the second Adam, Jesus, would come, he would fulfill what he desired, to turn the Lord’s anger away from the people’s sin. In the old testament, God could not look on sin. Moses was typical of the law, but in the new testament, Jesus paid the price for all sin and is typical of the grace of God. God now looks at us through the finished work of Calvary, and sees the righteousness of His Son in us.
Moses appealed to God on behalf of the people, (Exodus 32:13-14) and the Lord graciously told Moses, v14, “…My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest.”
When Jesus took the weight of the sin of the world on Calvary’s cross, His Father could not look on Him. Jesus not only bore the physical agony of pain, but also the agony of losing His Father’s presence. He cried out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” That was the greater agony for Jesus, losing His Father’s presence. He could not live without it! Because of Calvary we never have to live without His presence. He promised never to leave us, nor forsake us. The problem lies with me when I follow a course of action that leads me to losing the awareness of His presence. Humility will always restore that awareness. The Lord has promised His presence for every moment of the day and we are called to be carriers of that presence and grace, for His glory. No greater joy!