November 24, 2021
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”
33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
Go, and lead the people. Moses is brought back to his role of leading the people as they journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, to lead the people as they move from slavery to freedom, as they move from wanderers to God’s people. There is restoration in the words, even as we see that there is still consequences to the actions of the people. But the consequences are not for Moses, neither to mete out or to receive on their behalf.
Moses had been given a task already; now he is called to continue that task. It is easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of others. Sometimes it seems necessary – keeping things running when there is no one else to do a task. Sometimes we are just worried about the tasks of others to keep from doing our own tasks. It is easier to point at another instead of looking at what we need to do.
Yet what we will see still coming is that God puts into his book of life the names of those who are his. Not because they will live life perfectly in their following of God. They will have their names listed because punishment has been taken from them as God brings grace in the final sacrifice for atonement. Moses could not atone for all the people, but God will atone as his Son, Jesus, lives, dies and rises forever.
We are placed forever in the Book of Life out of God’s grace. Yet we are also called to serve as well. As Moses hear the call of God to go and lead, we also hear the call of God to serve as he has called and equipped us. Don’t try to save the rest; that is God’s job. Follow God, lead others, serve God and others. God will be just, but even more he will be faithful and merciful.
Song – Good To Me
God of grace, we grieve that the church, which shares one Spirit, one faith, one hope, and one calling, has become a broken communion in a broken world. The one body spans all time, place, race, and language, but in our fear we have fled from and fought one another, and in our pride we have mistaken our part for the whole. Yet we marvel that you gather the pieces to do your work, that you bless us with joy, with growth, and with signs of unity. Forgive our sins and help us to commit ourselves to seeking and showing the unity of the body of Christ. In his name, Amen.—based on Our World Belongs to God, Art. 43