Read: Deuteronomy 9
Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Deuteronomy 9:6)
When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the LORD your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. … So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes. (Deuteronomy 9:16a, 17)
God’s love does not depend upon the righteousness of his people. It never has. This is just as well, because God’s people have never been completely righteous from their own efforts.
Moses had only just received the written copy of the law of the covenant from God when the people of Israel broke that covenant. They worshipped an idol, a golden statue of a calf that Aaron had made, reminiscent of the false Egyptian goddess Hathor (see right).
Israel had literally broken the covenant, so Moses broke the stone tablets upon which the words of the covenant were written. Talk about an object lesson!
Thankfully, Moses did what the Israelites most needed: he interceded on their behalf in prayer to God, asking God to avert his wrath from his people, and not destroy them for their sin.
The truth is, I’m a stiff-necked person as well. I’d be in the same position as those Israelite idol-worshippers if it wasn’t for Jesus. Jesus is my mediator before the throne of God.
Romans 5:6 reassures me, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:8 adds, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
I have broken covenant, but Christ died to mediate a new covenant.
LORD God Almighty,
You make covenant and you keep covenant,
and when your people break covenant
you reconcile us with your righteousness.
Thank you for your loyal love for your people.
Thank you that, though I was an ungodly sinner, Christ died for me.
Thank you that Christ has mediated a new covenant whereby I am justified by his righteousness, in spite of my stiff-necked nature.
Please keep me from idols.
Keep me from worshipping your creation when I should be worshipping my Creator.
Help me to recognise idols for what they are when I see them:
When I see “healing crystals” for sale in some craft market, may I remember you are my Healer.
When I’m tempted to look for “validation” in feedback from others (my boss, my PD trainer, my husband, my Bible study small group, the likes on this blog), may I remember that you are my Judge.
When I seek satisfaction in my To Do List and my “accomplishments”, may I remember that you are my Joy.
May I worship only you and your Son who died for me when I was nothing but an ungodly sinner.