Our Need for a Mediator

Open Your Bible

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

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.

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59 thoughts on "Our Need for a Mediator"

  1. Brittany Stevens says:

    Thank you Lord for your mercy and faithful love ♥️. We are undeserving and forever grateful!

  2. Sarah Minton says:

    Thankful that Jesus is our mediator.
    My perfectionist nature and longing to be liked by those around has become a golden calf in my life. Striving and worrying leads me away from God, until I’m on my knees in need of mercy and help from Him. But nothing can separate me from his forever love.

  3. JoRae Keene says:

    As I was reading through these passages what came to my mind is Aaron. He wasn’t a very good helper to Moses was he? It’s of great importance that we prayerfully consider our leadership teams wisely. And that they are convicted of the same beliefs.

  4. Sarah Bernard says:

    I just have to roll my eyes at how impatient I am with a God who literally parted seas, sacrificed His Son, & worked miracles in and around my life. When my prayers aren’t answered on my timeline, I should remember the faith of Moses, not of Aaron.

  5. Margie Stevens says:

    Every time I read this passage or watch the movie the 10 Commandments I am always amazed at how inpatient people can become. They could just waited for Moses to come back but no, instead they lost their patients and built their own idol to worship. Maybe about an hour later everything would’ve been different for all of them.

  6. Christina Sciascia says:

    I look forward to reading these passages after a very long and tiring day and knowing that there is an amazing community of women here is so comforting! So happy to be here!!

  7. Terrisa Stewart says:

    It is truly comforting to know that Jesus is interceding on my behalf, even when I don’t know it. Especially not because I deserve it. While I strive daily to lead a life that is centred and focused on love, I am humbled to know that my brother Jesus Christ has taken up my case to plead for my soul even when I haven’t asked him to. Because while I may not recognise my need for redemption, when I do repent God has already forgiven my sin/trespass.

  8. Monica Davis says:

    On good days I too can be whiny Contentious and doubtful. Thank god for the mediator Jesus Christ!

  9. Holly says:

    I can’t tell what is better. The study or the comments. I feel like God brought me here just to show me that I am not the only one who struggles. I am so blessed, truly beyond belief, but there are moments when I question whether the blessings really came from God or am I just lucky. I question when I am waiting for something. Even though I have clearly seen His power in my life I still wonder about His presence when things don’t happen fast enough. Then I feel guilty, like my lack of faith during those brief moments will make God angry with me and even less likely to fulfill his promise.

  10. Anastasia R says:

    I see myself clearly reflected in the Israelites much of the time and I cling to the brief moments when I see a little of Moses

  11. Steph C says:

    Oh, so thankful for our Mediator! I am so thankful for the redemption God has provided in Christ. Like the Israelites, I have seen undeniable evidence of God’s care in my life. And, like the Israelites, I too have walked away from God. I have been distracted and pursued the wrong “god”. But my Mediator says I am forgiven. And my Father welcomes me home. ❤️

  12. Jaime Cochrane says:

    This was exactly what I needed today. At best I have wanted to control my current situation and at worst i have been “stiff necked.” I am struggling with delay…. waiting…. even though I am continuously reminded to BE STILL. The man i thought i would enjoy the rest of my life has decided we were not working. And while there were problems, it’s nothing i don’t believe we could work through. We have not seen one another in more than a month and have not spoken in two weeks… and i am struggling emotionally. Again, i continue to be reminded to BE STILL… wait… be patient.
    God is good. He is always good and always has a plan that is better than any we have. And he will fight for us. He can change minds and people and remove the spirit of depression from this situation (not me, but him). I am trying so hard to claim Gods work from the victory knowing Gods ways are good.

  13. Shelby says:

    What a reminder that we sway to that of glitter because it looks nice but we forget that glitter is messy. Thanks be to Jesus for being our glitter magnet and collects our debris. Praying around my fixation with anything but the Cross today.

    Lord help me to forget about finances and worrying about paying bills off, worrying about buying a house when I don’t even have money for a downpayment. Lord I give it all to you.

  14. Hannah says:

    This lesson shows that where we place our faith is a deliberate choice. Many people today feel they need a sign, some kind of physical evidence, to believe that God is real and deserving of our life’s devotion, but as we see from these passages, it doesn’t matter if God’s voice, power, and handiwork are literally right in front of our eyeballs, there will always be people whose hearts are hardened, who decide that God is not enough for them. People will still boldly and selfishly reject God in an effort to satisfy themselves, and that is easier to do than we care to admit. Ultimately, we choose whether to accept or reject God. And if we reject Him, the only places we can turn to will eventually lead to nothing but emptiness and destruction.

    On a more personal note, this lesson reminded me of a person who recently and temporarily came into my life. While he knew there could be a God, he rejected that God could be good. Although I no longer have contact with this person, I think about and pray for him often because I deeply wish he will see past his personal struggles enough to soften his heart, to one day accept God as The Lord of all, to know Him personally, and to finally believe in His goodness. I related more with Moses in these passages today than I think I ever have in my life. These scriptures have given me a hopeful reminder that God is listening to His children and cares about our concerns for the people who have abandoned Him. That is especially comforting to me as I pray for God to work in this person’s heart and give him opportunity and motivation to seek and find Him.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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 .

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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…

  22. 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.

  23. Terri says:

    When did Moses speak to an “angel” on Mt Sinai (Acts 7:38). In Exodus 32 Moses spoke to the Lord (verse 7).

    1. Moriah TraweekPotter says:

      My commentary on Acts 7:38 says the idea the law was mediated by angels was well established in Judaism and is found in other parts of the Bible. Angel if the Lord typically being Jesus when used in the Old Testament.

  24. Carol M says:

    Dear SRT writers… How can I express the joy that you bring into my life on a regular basis?? I lead study groups in my church, and I’m constantly encouraging our gals to follow this site! For me, it has become my daily “Not-so-Small”Group, and I look forward, eagerly, to being challenged, understood and encouraged…by the commentary, and also by the precious Sisters who share from their hearts. May you all be abundantly Blessed, as we continue through this approach to Easter…He IS Risen!!!

    P.S. I just received Claire’s book, “Beyond the Point”, and devoured it in two days…Thanks, Claire, a very good read!!

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      We’re so grateful that you’re a part of our community Carol and are here reading with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

  25. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    You ladies always say just the right things. A God thing for sure! I am praising the Lord with you who are seeing the end of a rough season. And for those of you who are going through a difficult season right now, I am praising the Lord that He is there and will see you through it. Just continue to trust in Him and His unchanging Word.
    Love to you Sisters!

  26. Danielle Wildes says:

    Praise God on the Highest!

  27. Kate Wells says:

    Ugh! That golden calf. As ridiculous as it sounds for the Israelites to have bowed down to a cow statue made of gold. I find myself being distracted from the glory of God by the golden calves of this world on a daily basis. Nice things, nice house, nice nails, nice cars, it all equates to a golden calf. Glittery and shiny and covetous distractions from the righteousness and glory of our God. I confess my distracted mind to you Lord and ask for a heart that keeps its priorities straight. Is there anything wrong with nice things? I don’t believe so. But I want to give you the number 1 place in my day. Let the things of this world become tools and resources to help us all bring glory and honor to your name and not our own.

    1. Lori Wat says:

      I hear you! My thoughts were what is my idol? What do I turn to when I feel God has delayed too long in my eyes to deal with whatever my pain I’m feeling or trouble? So thankful for his grace and mercy!

  28. Steph says:

    So thankful this morning that God has promised to write his teaching on my heart. Thankful that I am His and He is mine. Thankful that He forgives my sin and remembers them no more. Thankful for Jesus, who daily advocates on my behalf. Thankful for each one of you beautiful ladies that bare your souls and share your heart. So many times I am comforted in knowing I am not alone in my failures and trials. Thankful for your words of wisdom and encouragement. Thank you Erin for another great devotion. Praying for all of you collectively and as you post your specific requests.

  29. Ingrid Coutinho says:

    Although we are frequently surprised and angered by the attitude of the people of Israelites, I have noticed that sometimes I am not that different. So many times God has provided for me for me to end up forgetting the wonderful things that he has already done. Thankful for the life of Jesus that came to save us. May we never forget what he has already done for us.

  30. Carol M says:

    Dear Churchmouse, God in you has been an inspiration to me. Your faith has not wavered, your courage has been God- inspired, your heart has been breaking, yet, with His help you have pressed on. Thank you for your vulnerability on these pages… My heart has been encouraged by your humanity infused with The Divine… praying as God brings you to my mind…♥️

  31. Angie says:

    Moses sought the favor of the Lord, his God (emphasis for me on “his”). Moses’ relationship with God was strong, intimate, and vibrant, he sought Him.

    I see Moses care about God’s reputation as a form of worship.

    Jesus and the Father are One, and He is our mediator. May my relationship with Him be strong, intimate, and vibrant.

    May my first thoughts ALWAYS, always, please Lord, always be about how to honor You and may that honor be worship.

    Evelyn, thank you for your post yesterday, I heard… “Obedience is not an, I will-if-you do or even I will-then-you do…it is simply, Yes Lord.” Thank you for that constantly needed reminder.

    Also, I shared a very raw part of my heart yesterday. That is frightening. Thank you ladies for Christ’s love that you share…almost like someone “mediating.” We are so blessed to have Jesus mediating for us, and the opportunity to mediate to God for others, and to others of God’s love. We are blessed to be a blessing.

  32. Dawn says:

    …….. “but Jesus is there to plead for me”. Yes, that says it all. Thank you Jesus!!!

  33. Churchmouse says:

    When Moses delayed, the people took matters into their own hands. They forsook I AM and created their own WE CAN. They traded reliance on the Almighty God of their ancestors for a metal calf made by their own weak hands. When answers to our prayers are long in coming, do we not contemplate how we can make things happen, how we can move things along? Do we not trade reliance on our all knowing God for our own finite minds? Do we trade long term gain for short term relief? Oh how hard it is sometimes to remain faithful, to stand firm, to hold on when we don’t understand, when the storm is raging and it appears our Master is asleep and uncaring. I know. The storm hit our family last April and reached hurricane proportions in July. From then until just yesterday the winds howled and the rains never stopped. We were white knuckled holding on to our small boat of faith, tossed around in the rough sea of unexpected and unfair circumstances. We knew our anchor was firm. We turned to the Captain’s manual. We kept our eyes, though it was not easy, on the truth we read yet could not see. Land lubbers on the ocean for a year do not typically fare well. The temptation to take the oars in our own hands rather than rely on the One who controls the storm was high. We prayed as a family like we have never prayed before. Praise God! Yesterday the waters were still. The once distant shore came into sight. We walked on dry land, high land. We fell to our knees, humbled and rejoicing. We were frightened sailors, true. BUT.. the Anchor held. The Master was always with us. The storm was really no match. There is no god like our God. (Thank you all for your prayers of support and posts of encouragement this past year – please continue them as we know the enemy is not pleased. We care not about his pleasure – for he is defeated. Now and forevermore! There is no God like our God. He is always good. He is always faithful. Romans 8:28. Philip. 1:6. Gen. 50:20. Joel 2:25. Gen.18:14a. 2 Cor.1:20. Amen!)

    1. Willonda McCloud says:


    2. Sarah Smith says:


    3. Elaine . says:

      Oh, Churchmouse, I rejoice alongside your faith and constant desire for God. I pray for your steadfastness as you fight the enemy. Hold onto His right hand and do not fear – God will help you. Isaiah 41:13

    4. Andrea Parkins says:

      Love that first sentence where you say they forsook I Am. I’ve been going through Lysa Terkeurst’s book Finding I Am with the women at church and its making so many connections for me. How often do we try to take matters into our own hands because we think we can make something happen rather than waiting for the answer?

    5. Kathy Stansell says:

      Praising God along with you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this hurricane in your life. I confess I am sitting in my classroom in a flood of tears from your testimony. God is a great and good Father.

    6. Hope S says:

      This is beautiful and so encouraging!!

    7. Lori Wat says:


    8. Jaime Cochrane says:


    9. Melissa S says:


    10. Shea Lasiter says:

      Thank you for your post! Very moving and such a great reminder to hold fast in the waiting! He is faithful!!

    11. Callie Herring says:

      What a beautiful testimony! Praise God!

    12. Leslie Warnick says:

      Praise God! Thank you for sharing your life and heart with us. ❤️

    13. Rhonni_l S says:

      Thank you Churchmouse for this real story of perserverence & faithfulness. Blessings to you all & gratitude for your sharing this journey through SRT

  34. Kathy says:

    Lord, thank you for being my Advocate – for never giving up on me even though there are so many times I turn to other things; I make my own Golden Calf and decide it’s going to help me. You are ever ready to plead my cause and bring me back. Sometimes, Father, I am the younger son seeking after the world to bring me joy. And sometimes, most times, I am the older brother depending on myself, demanding what I think is fair because I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. Yet, You are always my loving Father ready to kill the calf and celebrate because I’ve come home. Don’t let me take that for granted. Don’t let me be flippant about the cross.
    I am so blessed. I am a woman well loved by her Heavenly Father.

    1. Shelley Johnson says:

      So well put Kathy! Truly we turn to all that glitters but TRULY we have such a WONDERFUL SAVIOR! Thank you for your words. It was truly encouraging

  35. Tina says:

    Oh My, Erin you write as though you know my story!

    I have not walked across the red sea on dry land, I have not seen God send a plague to torment my oppressors, I have not tasted manna rained from heaven…and for sure, I have not seen or been present when God carved with His finger the commandments… but I’ll tell you something…

    But God…

    Holy. Holy. Holy God..

    He has shown up when I needed, though didn’t deserve it…
    He has saved me when absolutely ‘death’ was my deserve..
    He has covered me, loved me, fed me, clothed me, protected me, provided for me, led me.. when all I’ve ever done is wander, rebel, look elsewhere, make idols of others…sin, sin, sin..


    Love. Love. LOVE..

    And this love, written/ spelt also as Jesus in my language, whose gift to us was to take ALL our sin and rubbish,( past, present and future) upon himself, so we would have an advocate, one who would intercede on our behalf.. one who would stand between us and the true and right punishment deserved for our sin..

    I have never been so grateful and thankful as I am now.. knowing my Mediator, my Savior, my Jesus.. because of my Jesus.. I get another day with new mercies, in the hope of getting things right with God..

    Thank you Holy and awesome God… thank you for everything… thank you.

    Amen. X

    Love and blessings dear sisters this fine Thursday.. xx

    1. Lorraine Dipré says:

      Thank you Tina, this is so beautifully put. Our God is so good to us. Praise you Lord. Xxxx

    2. Rhonni_l S says:

      Thank you Tina for reminding us to turn to our loving friend Jesus who stands for us with patience & strength. It is through Jesus that we may live in freedom & peace. Blessings to you xx

  36. Shawn Parks says:

    I am always baffled at the Israelites turn from God at the base of his own mountain after all he had done for them and the lengths that He had gone to to save them, but in my disbelief at their crass and blatant disregard for the God who had done so much for them, I am stopped in my tracks as I see myself in their crowd. He has done so much for me. To save me He sent his son to die on a cross, yet I flippantly turn to seek acceptance from this world and defiantly retreat to the world’s standards instead of God’s. I get so frustrated as I see myself in my own rebellion and cry out “I can’t!” It is then that God reminds me that I don’t have to. He knows that I can’t. But Jesus did and then took the wrath of God’s anger over my sin and bore it for me. What I deserved, he suffered. Again, I am humbled at the foot of the cross. Thank you, Lord, for helping me to know you more each day, and for leading me in this life to understand your love and your grace.

  37. April says:

    When I read about the golden calf I often get frustrated. How could anyone go through what this group of people had gone through, the Red Sea, manna from heaven, etc, and still lose their faith so quickly. But just as quickly as I think the above, a grounding thought comes into my mind, I too place others on my altar on a daily basis – and I have witnessed my own miracles as well. Being broken allows that to happen, which makes me even more grateful for this daily bible study! How truly blessed I am by the vision of these studies and God’s ability to draw me into his word through them. I’m never going to be perfect – I’m still going to have moments where I put too much value on my job or social media or my wardrobe but Jesus is there to plead for me. Praise God!

  38. Kristen Marino says:

    Thank You, Jesus. Without You we have no hope. I’m reminded of part of a teaching I heard from Dr.Charles Stanley. He said so many people talk about what they will say or do when in the Presence of God in Heaven. He said, “ You know wants you will do? Nothing! When you see Holy God, you won’t be able to do anything but fall on your face.” I’m paraphrasing, but that image stuck in my head. He is love, but let’s not forget to be in reverence and awe of His Holiness and Power and Might! Remember, He is the Creator of all! Let’s give Him praise and honor that He is due! https://youtu.be/dCh7AFvEVjk