Day 4

Our Need for a Mediator

from the Because He Lives reading plan


Exodus 32:1-14, Exodus 32:30-35, Acts 7:37-43, Jeremiah 31:31-34

BY Erin Davis

Let’s face it, when the Lord called the Israelites “stiff-necked,” He was being kind.

On their best days, they were whiney, rebellious, fearful, and contentious. And this particular day we’re reading about was definitely not one of their best.

With metal they’d pillaged from their enemies (Exodus 12:35), they fashioned a statue of a calf and convinced themselves that the idol was the Lord Himself, the one who had delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

It’s okay to shake your head. Their error was preposterous. In hindsight, I suppose it’s obvious that rebellion against a loving and sovereign God always is. No wonder God declared, “Now leave me alone, so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them” (32:10).

This was the nation that had seen God send plagues to torment their oppressors. These were the ones who had walked across the Red Sea on dry ground. These were God’s chosen people, those who had tasted the manna He’d rained from heaven. And still, as soon as their leader was out of earshot, they turned their adoration toward a weaker god—one who could never save them. God’s wrath was surely justified.

God is holy.
His people were unholy.

He is generous.
They were greedy.

He is faithful.
They were faithless.

He showcased His power.
They bowed before a powerless statue instead.

We’ve all bowed before the wrong altars. Who will plead our cause? We cannot shake our sin nature. Who will defend our case? We are the rebellious children of a holy, holy, holy God. Who will stay His hand?

This moment in Israel’s history allows us to peek at the glory of the gospel. In pleading with the Lord to spare the Israelites, Moses was pointing forward to Christ, who right now—right this very minute—is our advocate, standing between our sin and the punishment we rightly deserve (Romans 8:34). We remain God’s beloved, yet rebellious, children—our hearts ever turning toward all that glitters. Even so, God’s wrath is stayed because there is One who pleads for us even now.

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Our Need for a Mediator"

  1. Kelly M says:

    I just can’t! I understand the analogies of how we turn to things besides God today, in spite of the miracles I’ve seen him work in my own life and others, but how could they deny who he was after what they had seen!!!! Maybe it’s just to showcase how merciful He is and how easy it is for even them to be prone to wander. Every time I read about this, I just am in awe of how faithless they are and how merciful God remains.

  2. Ana Love says:

    The entire time I was reading this story I’m reminded of how crazy it sounds to turn so quickly from God. But I think back time and time again when I do the same thing. I find comfort in relationships and go to them as a source of wisdom, peace and direction over God.

  3. Deborah Newsom says:

    Wow! It is so quick for us to ask how could they do this to God. But , I know How so quickly and easily I turn to my sinful ways . I am so grateful for Jesus who is stands before god and keeps my sin away from God . He gave the the ultimate sacrifice for me who is so unworthy. But , he did for me because he loves me .

  4. Heidi M says:

    @Terri, I believe in that passage of Acts, it means “angel” as in the Angel of the Lord? It’s a good question and I’m curious if anyone else has any answers as well.

    1. Helen McCarthy says:

      I read that because God sent the angel to go with Moses, the angel would have also spoken to him. I just assumed that when I read it.

    2. Helen McCarthy says:

      I just assumed as God had sent an angel to be with Moses, the angel would have also spoken to Moses.

  5. Tina says:

    Churchmouse, praising through tears, with joy for you and yours… there is for sure no God like our God.. always faithful, steadfast and sure..
    Will continue to lift your family up in prayer dear friend…

    Love and hugs always wrapped in prayers across the pond…

    Every praise us to our God… Amen. Xx

  6. NanaK says:

    I too shake my head at the Israelites and wonder, how can they be so weak? And why do they continue to return so quickly to their sinful, destructive ways? But of course I am quickly convicted and recall my own sinful nature, too often weak to satan’s attempts to steer me away from the One who has led me through my own Red Sea of self destruction. The One who has shown me miracles of mercy time and again.
    Thank you God for sending an Advocate for me…undeserving, sinful me… so that I will not have to suffer for my iniquities. Lord, clear my mind and my heart of the world and all things that separate me from You and your unfailing love.

  7. Jennifer Nease says:

    Yesterday and today’s readings were such reminders of the mercy of God against our human frailty. I smiled thinking about the Israelites or Abraham’s faith and then later forgetting that trust and disobeying with Hagar. I am no different. Sometimes I realize anew that God didn’t save me because I was a little better. I never consciously think that, but it strikes me sometimes in the pages of scripture. Oh yeah, I’m just like that. We are all so foolish and so frail and our God is so kind and so patient. He fulfilled his justice in himself and he dares to call those of us who are in his Son, children. Glory. Also, the passage from Jeremiah. I can’t wait. Jesus come quickly…

  8. Kenya says:

    This mornings reading from Jeremiah shines a true sense of Gods mercy and love for us. Despite all the things we may have done, the sins we carry, God will forgive us and even forget them! We have to give them over to Him so we can fully experience His grace – a gift like nothing else in the entire world.
    God, I pray today that I can remember your grace and mercy and not try to hold on to the calves of this world that distract me from your glory. That I can turn fear and anxiety into praise and worship with a grateful heart.

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