Chapter 5 of The Story is based on selections from Exodus 19-40, especially chapters 19, 24, 32-33. These chapters tell the story of God’s commitment to Israel in a marriage like ceremony, sealed with vows and sealed in blood. But while Moses was representing them on the mountain before God, the people were worshipping an idol in the valley below. The fastest act of marital unfaithfulness we could ever imagine. Can they recover? What follows is an amazing conversation between Moses and Yahweh (God’s personal name revealed to his people).
The answer does not come easy. At first God says he is so upset that there is no way the relationship can continue. He wants to start over with just Moses and destroy all the people (32:10). Then Moses seems to “talk him out of it”. After some prodding, God agrees to “stick” with the people, and have his “Presence” go with them. To seal this promise he lets Moses “see his glory”. 33:22 This is biblical drama at its best!
God wants a faithful partner who loves him always, and is not “prone to wander”. But we do and each time we “go looking”, God remembers his covenant of love, invites us to repent, and is willing to forgive us, and go forward again as our God, fully present within us. This pattern of promise, disobedience, and forgiveness in this story sets before us as a pattern that will come to dominate the entire relationship between God and his people.
It is amazing that he so desires to have a relationship with people like us who continually disappoint him. His promise, never to leave us or forsake us is what has come to be known as the “amazing grace” of God. And it is this amazing grace that we see when he offers his son, Jesus, as the one who seals the covenant with us forever. In Christ, there is no turning back for God. He is all in. This is the God we know and love in Jesus Christ.
Here’s an audio file of the sermon if you missed it or want to hear it again.
Pastor John Terpstra