As Moses pleaded with God to spare his people, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel…” in Exodus 32:13, I was struck by the number of years that had passed since Abraham lived. He must have seemed as remote to Moses as George Washington seems to us.
In response to Moses’ prayer, “the LORD changed His mind…,” according to Exodus 32:15. What does that mean? If God really did “change His mind”, how do we reconcile that incident with scripture that says God does not change? I think part of the answer is that while God’s character never changes, He can do whatever He wants. (I want to ponder this again when we arrive at other relevant scripture.)
Then Moses went down the mountain, carrying the two tablets, which Exodus 32:16 says, “were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.” When I did a keyword search on the various verb forms of “writing” in Bible Gateway*, this reference is listed first, which indicates that God is the first one the Bible cites as writing. Of course.
Exodus 33:15-17 jumped out at me because Moses, pleading again with God to go with Israel, argues, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up here…Isn’t it by Your going with us that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” The LORD agreed to do as Moses requested. What a contrast to other religions—that God goes with His people!
When Moses asks to see God’s glory, the LORD says, “…I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” Which hymn was based on this verse?*
Jumping ahead to the time of Paul, we read that his ship landed at Tyre, where he stayed for a week with friends. I was struck by the image of the crowd gathering on the beach in Acts 21:5. “…After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.” While I love the ocean and have been on many beaches, I don’t remember ever kneeling on one.
One more thing—in Acts 21:25, Paul gives instructions for Gentiles believers, to “abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.” In contrast to the instructions we’ve been reading about in Exodus, the list is short and simple. I’d better grill my steak a little longer.
*One hymn is He Hideth My Soul, by Fanny Crosby, 1890.
From readings for Days 11 and 12
Exodus 30-31, Psalms 34, Matthew 14:22-36, Acts 20:13-38
Exodus 32-33, Psalms 35, Matthew 15:1-20, Acts 21:1-26