This devotional was originally published on December 14, 2015.
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
— Exodus 32:30-32
I don’t think I could be as forgiving as Moses. Honestly. The people of Israel constantly turned their backs on God, and Moses had put it all on the line for them. With God’s power, Moses brought them out of slavery, performing spectacular feats throughout the ordeal, and was now about to reveal to them two tablets that were inscribed by the finger of God. But they had already given up on Moses and his God. And what does Moses do? He offers his own life for the atonement of their sins. Wow. That’s love. A love I’m not sure I would’ve had.
Why would Moses do such a thing? Was he able to forgive so easily because he was humble enough to know his own faults? Did he consider others as more significant than himself, so much so that his life wasn’t worth more than theirs? No matter what his reasons were, his offer to God wasn’t good enough, which makes sense. How could the sacrifice of one individual’s life atone for the sins of many?
Moses’ offer was intended to point us to the one individual who could — and would — take away the sins of the world by giving his life. Moses’ offer wasn’t good enough, but Jesus’ was. Jesus was perfect. He was spotless. Blameless. He abdicated his throne to take on the form of a man, in obedience. His obedience conquered death so that you and I could have eternal life.
Let us give thanks today for the reminders God has set before us. Let us give thanks for the life Jesus lived and died. Let us give thanks that God shows us love, even when we — like the people of Israel — are disobedient. Let us love and forgive, as we have been loved.