Moses Seeks Favor and God Relents

Read: Exodus 32:1-14

And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people. (v. 14)

In this series, we will explore God’s free will to deviate from what he has set in motion. We don’t normally think of God in these terms, but the Bible is clear—there are times when God responds to his people in surprising ways. Scripture refers to this ability using words such as “relent,” “regret,” “turn,” or even “repent” (in the King James Version).

Today’s passage is a perfect example. God was sick and tired of his people, and so was Moses. But the relationship between Moses and God was nowhere clearer—Moses was the priest God imagined each of his people would be—the first of an entire kingdom of priests (Exod. 19:6; Rev. 1:6; 5:10). Moses advocated for the people of God, reminding God of his great name, reputation, and promises, interceding for a people they had both called stiff-necked. God relented. Verse 14 in the KJV says, “And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” Pretty strong language—no wonder translators over the years have sought to interpret it a bit more gently; the terror of it is still enough.

Not only did God not destroy the Hebrews, he renewed his covenant with them! An about-face because a shepherd fought for the sheep under his care when God gave up. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, pray to be like Moses and ask for God’s favor out of a heart that remembers your own stiff-necked ways.

About the Author

With a bachelors in journalism from Texas Tech University and a masters from Western Theological Seminary, Amy Clemens enjoys all things writing, particularly about the life of faith. She is blessed with a family that includes husband Fred, five children, and five grandchildren.

Amy has just published her first book, "Walking When You'd Rather Fly: Meditations on Faith After the Fall," which weaves her journey from childhood abuse toward healing and spiritual growth with a practical theology for the big story of God. You can find out more about the book and author at walkingwhenyoudratherfly.com.