By: Abigayle Mutua
We find the same relationship operating between God and Moses. Look at the conversation recorded in the Book of Exodus. It reads,
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way, which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'” The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation” (Exodus 32:710).
Moses’ response floors me! Moses said to God, Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, “With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth?” Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever” (Exodus 32:11-13).
Then here comes the verse that will blow our minds, ruin our theology, and bring us to the brink of an omniscient nightmare:”So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:14).
This amazing story highlights an intimate relationship between a man and his God. Here an unredeemed human, living under the old covenant, finds a place with the God of all creation, the wisest Being in the entire universe, and tells Him that destroying His own people is simply a bad idea.
Their conversation reveals a deep sense of mutual respect. God, angry at Israel, tries to put the responsibility for the people on Moses by telling Moses, “These are your people whom you brought out of Egypt.” “On the contrary,” Moses says to God, “These are Your people whom You brought out of Egypt”!
Underneath the dialogue between God and Moses lies a deeper question. Was God saying to Moses, “Boy, Moses, I never thought about those Israelites being My people or about My reputation with those Egyptians. I am sure glad that I have you around so that I don’t forget these things”? I don’t think so! This may shock you but I don’t think God always wants to be right when He speaks to us! God often restrains His strength so that He can have a relationship with His people! — HIS RESTRAINT FOR OUR FRIENDSHIP.