Now, many years have passed. God and Moses have just spoken on the mountain and God has given Moses the tablets of the law. Moses had to be on an absolute spiritual high, likely the highest of his life to that point. And then it happens. Moses comes down from the mountain and the debauchery of the people comes into full view. God is absolutely disgusted with them and is threatening to wipe them out and start again with Moses. Showing years of wisdom beyond that we can imagine, Moses engages God in a debate of sorts. His basic premise is not all that surprising, but his opening argument seems rather odd. Moses basically asks God, “If you do this, what will the neighbors think?”
We are never forbidden to engage God. The call to obedience is not the same as giving over our free will. Our approach and the outcome may vary greatly (look at the two attempts Moses made), but God isn’t looking for a bunch of robots. He wants men and women who have learned and studied His heart to the point they can engage Him and grow. Yes, we are to completely trust what God does. I’m sure Moses would have accepted God’s verdict if He had carried out His statement and wiped out the children of Israel. But I don’t believe that was the point of this exchange at all.
- Have you ever had occasion to “debate” with God? What were the circumstances that resulted in that exchange?
- Do you view this activity as dishonoring to God, or do you believe there are times when it is a good and necessary part of the struggle to grow in our walk with Him?
- How had Moses grown between his first discussion with God and this one? Are you, like Moses was, truly out to protect God’s reputation?
NASB - Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.