On Second Thought…

There are some things I pray for that seem hopeless; that appear to be headed for a horrible end. I pray fervently for a different outcome, but it seems nothing will change. It appears that God has his mind set on how things will turn out. As I pray, I wonder if God can change His mind. Then I read Exodus 32:14: “So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.”

Earlier in this chapter we read how the Israelites had become impatient with Moses. They tell Aaron, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him (Exodus 32:1).” So Aaron made a golden calf for them to worship from “gold rings which were in their ears (Exodus 32:3).” God becomes angry with them and tells Moses: “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation (32:9-10).”

Even though he tells Moses he will make him a great nation after he destroys them, Moses pleads to God: “O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people (Exodus 32:11-12).”

God’s judgement is righteous. He has every right to punish the Israelites, yet he considers Moses’ appeal. “So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people (14).”

We might think that some people are hopelessly lost. We may think that they will never turn to God. We may want to give up on them, but Moses reminds us that we should remain steadfast and continue to appeal to God on their behalf. If we cease to pray for them, who else will stand between them and God’s final judgment.

© 2022, Chris G Thelen

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)

9 thoughts on “On Second Thought…

  1. Good point, Chris. Moses was the only one who stood between his people and God. This reminds me of the time, I believe in Ezekiel, when God looked for someone to “stand in the gap” that he might not destroy the land, but He didn’t find anyone. May we be willing to be that person. Blessings!

    1. Another good verse on this topic, Ezekiel 22:30:

      “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.”

      May God strengthen us as we stand in the gap. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.

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