I had never noticed the details in the exchange between God and Moses when God sent him off the mountain to deal with the rebellion of the people, (Exodus Thirty-two, The Golden Calf). God was incensed, ready to consume His “stiff-necked people” and start all over through Moses offspring. The Lord’s desire in that moment was to allow His wrath to “burn hot” against Israel. Moses made a bold plea on the people’s behalf, and God “relented of the disaster He has spoken of bringing.”
So there you go. Moses’ intercession worked and the people were spared. Moses then headed down the mountain to face what God has just informed him he would face. Here’s where my ears perk up: Moses, upon seeing for himself the people’s lewd behavior, burned with rage, and in a fit of temper destroyed the precious tablets of stone he carried with him. Then Moses burned the golden calf, ground it to power, scattered it in the water, and made the people drink it, (that whole sequence took a minute… or days).
Do you see a discrepancy between the Lord’s response to the people’s actions and Moses response? I harken forward in time to the story Jesus told of the man who was forgiven much, who almost immediately refused to extend the same mercy he had only just received, (Matthew Eighteen). I realize these two stories have significant differences, but they both involve a giant display of mercy, followed by “not so much.”
I cannot help but do a self-exam and wonder how often I have walked away from the throne of MERCY only to withhold it from another. I also wonder how many times I am hard on someone whom God has chosen to shower with mercy. This is no small thing. Because in the face of my personal rebellion, the breadth of the mercy of God toward me is immeasurable. If I’m at all clued in to that FACT I ought to see it paying forward! Yikes.
Back to the throne of mercy I go! Lord, forgive me for not doing for others what You do for me time and again, (more than likely many times every day). Teach me to offer what is not deserved. Teach me to be like Christ, who showers the human race with mercy upon mercy.