All through the Bible, the presence of Moses is felt. And though he’s not mentioned until Exodus 2:2, he had written the book of Genesis, God’s authoritative and foundational story of who we are, how we got here, why things are as bad as they are, and yet, why we can hope anyway. Creation, the Fall, the promise of redemption, the Flood, Abraham, the gospel — all have their roots in Genesis, and its author was the prophet Moses. It’s hard to gauge adequately the influence that this one man, hardly flawless, was nevertheless able to exert for God because He loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him.
Read Exodus 32:29-32, which records the conversation between the Lord and Moses after the terrible sin of the golden calf. What insight does this story teach us about the character of Moses and why, despite whatever flaws he had, the Lord was able to use him in such a mighty way?
Even though Moses had nothing to do with the sin, he sought to intercede for this sinful people, even being willing to lose his own soul on their behalf. Fascinatingly enough, in Exodus 32:32, when Moses asks God to “forgive their sin,” the verb actually means “to bear.” Thus, Moses — understanding the gravity of sin and what it took to atone for it — asked God indeed to “bear” their sin. And that is because this is the only way, ultimately, that their sin, any sin, could be forgiven.
Thus, here we have, early in the Bible, a powerful expression of substitution, in which God Himself, in the person of Jesus, will bear in Himself the full brunt and penalty of our sin — God’s preordained way of salvation for humanity while remaining true to the principles of His government and law.
Indeed, many centuries later Peter would write about Jesus: “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Meanwhile, what we see in this story of Moses and his reaction to their sin is Moses in the role of intercessor on behalf of a fallen, sinful people, a precursor to what Jesus will also do for us (see Hebrews 7:25).
|Willing to lose his own soul for his people? Think more about the implications of those words. What can we learn from them for ourselves about what it means truly to love others?|