Proper 19 texts at www.textweek.com.
Jeremiah 4:11-12, 12-28 Exodus 32:7-14 Psalm 141 Tim. 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10
But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people…? Exodus 32:11a
It’s no secret that a lot of people these days are angry.
Some folks are not only angry themselves, they’re sure God is angry too (conveniently, God always seems to be angry about the same things that they are). On our way home from church most Sundays, we sit and wait for the light to turn green at an intersection where a little cluster of Christians hold posters full of Bible verses and flames. Recently, my husband and I were discussing the website of a nearby religious community whose separationist theology seems to be based on God’s disgust with our nation.
If there was ever an audition for a representative to go to God and report on all there is to be angry about, all the ways we should be judged and punished, no doubt the line of volunteers would stretch for miles.
But who will go to God for us, as Moses did for his people, not pointing fingers and not making excuses, but requesting mercies?
Who will go for us, humbly bearing our hopes before the One who shapes our history from beginning to end? Who will go for us, honestly confessing our mistakes but bravely reminding the Creator of the promises we’ve been given?
Who will go for us, as one of us?
God didn’t need to be told about the peoples’ failings. God had glue sticks and paint pens at hand, and posterboards ready to be covered with dire warnings. God was already busily writing the code for a website all about the Hebrews’ punishable offenses. There was nothing Moses could have told God that God didn’t already know: the people had turned aside from the way God told them to go (Ex. 32:8a). They’d made an idol, worshipped it, made sacrifices to it, and even convinced themselves that the idol had saved them from slavery in Egypt. (Ex. 32:8b) In their stubbornness, they’d stopped responding to their Guide at all. (Ex. 32:9)
“Now go away and leave me alone,” God said to Moses.
And then: “I’m done with them, but I’ll build a whole new nation in you.”
Is there anyone who would go for us, as Moses did; one who would willingly refuse such an offer, who would ask instead for God to put down the posters, crash the website, let go of well-earned wrath?
Who knows our stories well enough to remind the very One who wrote them? Who has so much stake in our freedom that they’ll set aside personal glory for our defense? Who will not shrink away from God’s anger, but will stand by, will speak up, will seek mercy even when we don’t deserve it (for we never deserve it)? Who will call God back from the brink of destroying all that God has made in us? Who will call God’s heart back to the ultimate love God gave for us?
First published 9/11/19 on www.bwim.info/blog.