The Dog Ate My Homework
Lord, I can be so easily intimidated. The past and the future can unsettle me. Grant me faith and hope today.
Read Exodus 32:15-24
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Holy Spirit conviction leads to repentance, but worldly condemnation leads to remorse and depression. Repentance turns outwardly to God. Condemnation turns inwardly to self. We need God’s wisdom to discern the difference.
God’s judgment, Moses’ anger, the Israelites’ apostasy and Aaron’s unwillingness to take responsibility are played out in comic, macabre fashion. The very charter for freedom, the Ten Commandments, will be destroyed–a torn-up, broken contract. A Jewish interpretation plays on the Hebrew word for “incised” (harut), linking it to the word for “freedom” (hérut). It is only when there is restraint and obedience to God’s instructions that there can be true freedom.
The Israelites’ sin brings its own consequences, judgment and punishment, despite God’s ultimate mercy and forgiveness. Although he will never reject his people, they will be punished, purified from their sin and their numbers purged. This severe mercy is necessary because God’s own holy presence cannot dwell in the camp of iniquity. As a means of confession, repentance and restoration of the relationship, the Israelites must eat their own words, drinking the ground-up, powdered remains of their precious idol. What they worshiped as a golden god will be evacuated from their bowels as disgusting excrement. Ugh!
No one likes to be shown their sin. We have a natural desire to defend ourselves, blame others or make excuses. Even those of us who suffer with low self-esteem, over-sensitive feelings of guilt or unrealistic expectations of what we must do to please an angry, judgmental God need to know the meaning of repentance. Paul writes, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Cor. 7:10). Under the new covenant, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are assured of forgiveness for our sins, cleansing and renewal. But we too must take seriously the call to repentance, receive our forgiveness through Jesus and rely on him in all things.
How do you experience God’s forgiveness, cleansing and renewal? How do previous examples of confession help you focus on God’s mercy?
Father, I am good at the blame-game. It is so easy to shift blame for my sinfulness. Today, I am willing to take ownership of my sins and to seek Your forgiveness.
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