Restoration and Inheritance
1The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. 3No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” 4So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. 5The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 8And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. 9And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
The choice that the Children of Israel made to construct and worship the golden calf had several consequences:
- They had to drink water laced with gold dust
- 3,000 of them died by the sword of their brethren
- the stone tablets containing the 10 Commandments (carved and written by the hand of God Himself) were shattered by Moses in his anger
- God threatens to withdraw His physical presence from the people
When the list of consequences from the sin of the idolatry are listed out you begin to get the full impact of the seriousness with which God sees our sin. We can never try to hide or simply push aside that which angers our holy God. This incident at the foot of Mt. Sinai where the people turned their backs on God is drawing to a close but sin carries consequences – always. Now Moses gets to pay the price for busting the first stone tablets that contained the 10 Commandments by having to carve out a new set so God could rewrite the Covenant contract upon them. The confession and repentance is ongoing and God is withdrawing His wrath and staying the hand of destruction He had threatened. It’s time to restore what Moses had broken and God uses this opportunity to reiterate the Covenant commands He had given.
Our sins are just as vicious in the eyes of God. We can never look at these stories and say “Oh, those foolish Children of Israel” for we are just like them. I was listening to a TV preacher yesterday to see what was coming out of his mouth these days and I was so sad. This man has millions of people taking in his every word every single day and all he preaches is “have a positive attitude and you’ll be fine.” The name of Jesus was never mentioned. The “self” is the god of this age and this guy preaches to that self with great eloquence. We don’t need a golden calf. We have our own pride and selfishness to bow down to instead. And we are teaching the next generation to worship at this altar as well – the sins of the father indeed.
There is always Good News though. Jesus Christ died for the sin of idolatry just as He died for all of the others. God the Father sets aside His wrath at the Children of Israel because of His great mercy. That didn’t mean the sins weren’t committed; there were still consequences to bear. But the blood of Jesus covers all of the sins of every believer. Although Moses had to carve another set of stone tablets, he also expresses repentance and begs for forgiveness. “. . . pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” Finally he asks God to see the people as His inheritance and that is echoed in the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1.
15For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
When you see yourself as God’s inheritance you have rightly recognized yourself for the amazing gift that you are to God! He counts you as His inheritance, one purchased by Himself for Himself. He cherishes us like no one else can or will. See yourself that way – His inheritance – and it will change how you spend your day!