“Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold it is a stiffnecked people: Let [M]e [A]lone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under [H]eaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.” (Deuteronomy 9:13,14)
If one were to search the Scriptures to learn of God’s his-tory with the Jewish people and other nations one would find God’s grace and mercy toward the Jewish people and His severity toward the heathen nations.
The student of Scripture is use to reading of God’s tender loving care of His chosen people as well as His tough love at times. What the student of Scripture is not use to is God stating His plans to destroy His chosen people…The Covenant People… The people of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob…The people of Divine Promise.
However, that is exactly what we find in Deuteronomy 9:13,14. After reading something like this one might begin to doubt God’s promises or even doubt God, Himself! Let not your hearts be troubled, dear child of God. There is no way God would have carried through with His threat. In fact one might say it would be impossible for Sovereign God to do so.
How could we state that so definitively? Because God said this to Abraham, “Look now toward [H]eaven, and tell the stars, if thou art able to number them: and [H]e said unto him, so shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD;and [H]e counted it to him for righteousness.”
If God broke His Word to Abraham by destroying the Jewish people and starting again with a people after Moses then the salvation we enjoy would always be in doubt. The righteousness (salvation) that Abraham enjoyed was based upon his belief in God’s promise of a great nation coming forth from his loins.
Our salvation (imputed righteousness) is also based upon God’s Word to Christ (Isaiah 42) only. So if God broke His Word to Abraham His Word would always be in doubt.
But again, the destruction of the children of Israel at the Hand of God was and is an impossibility for God’s Word stands true now, then, and forever.
The thinker might then ask, “What was the point of the threat then?”
O’ Beloved, God knows each of His people in an intimate way. He knows what is needed and when. God knows the who, the what, the when, the where, the how of your lives. He knows how to tend your heart. He is able to change your perspective just so. He knows your thoughts afar off. He knows what time you wake up and what time you sleep. He knows where the pain is and why the pain is. God knows…you.
And God knows the heart Moses.
Imagine the frustrations of leading a million plus persons to a land they have not known nor seen. Imagine how Moses felt as his God bestowed authority is challenged by those he is called to lead and those within his own family. Imagine your decisions being questioned every day. Imagine the responsibility Moses must have felt.
The point of the threat was to show to Moses his own heart. Moses may get angry at the people, Moses may get annoyed with the people, Moses may want to choke some people but at his core of being Moses is a Man of God with the shepherd’s heart. The shepherd’s heart is a creation of God and He develops it as He wills.
Notice what God says to Moses in Exodus 32:7 “thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves…” now read Moses’ response, “LORD, why doth [T]hy wrath wax hot against [T]hy people, which [T]hou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty [H]and? It seems as if God is saying, “I am through with these people; they are now your problem.” to which Moses replies, “Nope, they are all Your’s.”
Though it may seem like a game of hot potato it is not. God wants His ministers to look upon His people as their own. Remember the words of Christ to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” In 1 Peter 5:2 Peter directs other elders to “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof…in other words, love them as your own.
We are forbidden from seeking revenge. We are to commit our trouble to God for vengeance is His. But wait. Here is an opportunity to see thine own heart. Does thine heart call for vengeance when it could be asking for mercy?
God will test a person in order to show said person his true heart. Solomon said in his Proverbs that it is the wise man that knows his [own] ways.
God’s promises never falter nor do they fail.