by Lenny Cacchio
Have you ever wished you could get God to change his mind? It can be done, even if it’s something major. Moses was able to do it, and he did it twice: once shortly after leaving Egypt and again as they were on the brink of the Promised Land.
When Israel was in the wilderness, Moses went up on the mountain for a while in order to receive the law of God. “But when the people saw Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people together approached Aaron and said to him, ‘Come make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’” (Exodus 32:1)
We’re told that Aaron complied by forging a golden calf, and not only did they forge a golden calf, they engaged in what amounted to an orgy, as the people “sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (v. 6). And they had the audacity to call it a feast to the Lord (v. 5)!
God was not amused. “Moses,” he said, “you stand back. I’m going to destroy this people and make a great nation of you.”
I for one am not inclined to argue with God, but that’s exactly what Moses did. “Hold on, Lord. Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’”, and then later, “Oh, these people have sinned a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if you will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which you have written.” (Verses 11, 12, 21, 32)
And God changed his mind.
Now here’s the thing. God sets up nations and takes down nations. He is a God of justice, but he is also a God of mercy. A nation may turn its back on God, yet the plea of a few humble folk for mercy on a nation might be enough to change God’s mind.
Moses’ plea is especially poignant: “And if not, blot me out of Your book which you have written.” Moses so loved his people that he was willing to give himself so that they might live. Sounds like Someone else we know, doesn’t it? For this ideal mindset, God answered his prayer. The nation was preserved. That’s why when we pray for our nation, we should pray for mercy and not justice.