"The Lord spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. 14‘Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they,'" (Deuteronomy 9:13-14).This verse is a review statement made by Moses before Israel. Contextually, Moses was recounting how God had almost destroyed them, but through Moses' intercession, the Lord relented. Moses is referring to the events in the Book of Exodus.
"Turn from Thy burning anger and change Thy mind about doing harm to Thy people. 13“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people," (Exodus 32:12-14, NASB).For convenience sake, I have reproduced the comments on Exodus 32:12-14 here. Different Bibles translate this verse differently. The NASB says, "The Lord changed His mind." The NIV and NKJV say, "The Lord relented." The KJV, RSV, and the 1901 ASV say, "The Lord repented." The Hebrew word at issue here is relent/repent נָחַם (nacham). There are 108 occurrences in the Old Testament. The KJV translates it as “comfort” 57 times, “repent” 41 times, “comforter” nine times, and “ease” once.1 The issue, of course, is whether or not God actually goes through a process of changing His mind due to learning something as the open theists would maintain. Is God actually reacting to new information, or is He working on our level and in our reference for our benefit? The context is important. Moses was upon Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. The people had become impatient as they waited for him to return, so they made a golden calf to worship. God then said to Moses in Exodus 32:10, “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.” Moses then interceded for the Jews and asked God not to destroy them.
"Turn from Thy burning anger and change Thy mind about doing harm to Thy people. 13“Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people," (Exodus 32:12-14, NASB).First of all, it is apparent that Moses disobeyed God's instruction to leave Him alone (v. 10). Instead of Moses listening to God, he pleaded with God to spare Israel and God relented. Why? What is the significance of God allowing Himself to be swayed by the interceding work of Moses on behalf of Israel? Why did God not ignore Moses' request and go ahead and destroy the nation? The answer is simple: because of Jesus. Jesus said in John 5:39, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me." Jesus says that the Bible is about Him. Certainly, such an important figure as Moses must reflect Jesus in some way, and he does. As Moses interceded for his people, Jesus also intercedes for His. God listened to Moses because God would listen to Jesus. Second, we must ask if God was or was not aware of the condition of the hearts of the people of Israel. Open theism states that God knows all of the present exhaustively, including the attitudes and thoughts of all people. Now, didn't God know the hearts of the people? Didn't He know they were ready for idolatry? Are we to believe that God didn't know there was going to be a host of Jews who would most certainly fall into idolatry if Moses was up on the mount too long? It seems so, yet God allowed them the time necessary to fall into idolatry. Moses then ordered that the Levi's kill those who opposed God, and about three-thousand (3,000) fell that day (Exodus 32:28). It is interesting to note that in Acts when Peter preached and the Spirit of God moved on people and they were saved, three-thousand (3,000) were added that day to the church (Acts 2:41). When the Law was given, three-thousand (3,000) died. When the Gospel was given, three-thousand (3,000) were saved. Third, God often waits until something happens before He "makes His move." In the Garden of Adam and Eve, God waited to come on the scene after Adam and Eve sinned. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation but waited until Ishmael was born before he allowed Abraham to have Isaac. Jesus waited until Lazarus died before going to resurrect him. In fact, Jesus' incarnation did not occur until the time of Roman oppression and Pharisaical legalistic apostasy. Can we not also expect that God had Moses wait on the Mount until the people of Israel fell into idolatry so that He might desire to exterminate them and so Moses might intercede (as a type of Christ) so that God might show His mercy? Notice how the intercession of Moses is an appeal to the grace of God in face of the Law of God which had already been given. The Law of God said not to commit idolatry (Exodus 20), yet the Israelites did just that. It was not until after the Law was given to Moses that their sin was to be judged and the intercession of Moses occurred. As Amos 3:7 says, "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets." God revealed His will and plans in types and symbols in the Old Testament. These types and symbols pointed ahead to Jesus of which Moses was a type.
Did you know that almost six out of ten teens leave the church at some point? Nearly 60% of high school students who grow up going to church will close the doors to a Christian life. And usually, they don't come back (survey by the Barna Group). "Because of people breaking the laws and sin being everywhere, the love in the hearts of many people will become cold." Matthew 24:12
Whenever I answer a question like this, I’m deeply aware that someone may be reading this who is seriously contemplating suicide—and I would do everything in my power to convince them not to take that final, drastic step. With Christ, there is always hope. If that’s you, please hear me. Don’t you dare do that! Jesus and I deeply love you and need you.
(This post is written to Christian women and is based on a biblical worldview, supported with Scripture. Since the writing of this post, a sequel has been written, The Motive to Modesty.) Hurriedly I raked through my second dresser drawer in the dim light of the unlit closet, scrambling for pants of some kind. Finding some, I grabbed a workout shirt, jammed feet into tennis shoes and breathlessly answered the door for Mr. M. “Ready for breakfast?” he asked.