Pay No Attention to the Stubbornness

This morning I was reading part of Moses’ long recap/sermon/sometimes-amusingly-passive-aggressive-rant that is the book of Deuteronomy. The part where he’s recapping how he was getting the Ten Commandments directly from the hand of God on top of a mountain while meanwhile the people at the bottom of the mountain were already breaking at least the first three before they even knew what they were.

And how Moses came down the mountain and was so distressed he chucked the stone tablets God had written on the ground and so then he had to go back up there for another forty days so God could make him some new ones. But also how he interceded for the people with God, because God was already pretty fed up with those guys and was talking about destroying them and starting over with Moses. As part of his bid for God to show mercy, Moses said,

Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and do not pay attention to the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of this people.

Deuteronomy 9:27, Good News Bible

I started laughing because it suddenly struck me what a crazy defense that was. Somehow remembering those guys was going to help God forget the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of the people descended from them? Any familiarity with their stories (especially Abraham’s and Jacob’s)–which God certainly had more of than anyone else–and, well, let’s just say the patriarchs weren’t immune from committing their own nonsense. Seems like a strange tactic, Moses.

But I think I get it, actually.

“Remember the relationship You had with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Lord. (Maybe especially Jacob, who seems to have been the least interested in having one with You, but who You named Israel, and from whom these people take their name.) Remember the mercy and grace you showed them. Remember how You chose them out of the abundance of that grace when they had done nothing to deserve it and when, after You chose them, they frankly still didn’t do anything to deserve it. Remember how You love them. Remember You.”

This is Lent and I am rightly introspective and paying attention to where I am falling short in the here and now. But in what I’ve been reading lately I keep being overwhelmed by the grace. There is stubbornness and wickedness and sin in me and also around me, and sometimes God gets hurt and angry (which I understand–I mean, I get hurt and angry, too), but there is so much grace. And I like how Moses (who also got hurt and angry and maybe hadn’t even offloaded all of that until he gave his speech which became Deuteronomy) knew that the best way to remind God that He doesn’t really want to destroy us all–or even any of us–is to remind Him of His other human friends. Not because any of them were so great either, but because He loved them and showed them grace, and He has more than enough to love and show it to us–to me–too.

Published by Jennwith2ns

Jesus person. Wife and step-mom. Daughter, sister, auntie, friend. Collector of stories: mine, yours, tangible, not... Pastor of Central Baptist Church, founder and spiritual director at The Pilgrimage, and author of Trees In The Pavement and Favored One.

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