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Thursday, fourth week of Lent

March 30, 2006

Blessed Thursday!

Readings:
Exodus 32:7-14 (Moses intercedes for the Israelites, who are worshiping the golden calf)
Psalm 106:19-23 “Lord, remember us, for the love You bear Your people”
+John 5:31-47 (Old Testament prophesy points to Jesus as Messiah)

“The one to accuse you is Moses” (John 5:45).

Those are strong words. Moses was Israel’s advocate with God. He was the one who pleaded with God to spare His people, who refused to stand aside so that God could wipe Israel off the face of the earth & start over with Moses (see Exodus 32:11-14, Numbers 21:5-9). “Moses, His chosen one, withstood Him in the breach to turn back His destructive wrath” (Psalm 106:23). When your advocate starts accusing you, where do you go for defense?! This would be like walking into a courtroom with your lawyer, only to have him tell you that he knows you’re guilty and he’s going to argue against you. When you’re dealing with God, there’s no use trying to find another lawyer. He knows the truth.

The truth is that there is no defense for rejecting Jesus. There is no defense for sin. The devil will be only too eager to accuse us (see Job 1:6-11, 2:1-5, Revelation 12:10), and God, who is the One who most wants what’s best for us, will not turn a blind eye to the sin that eats us alive. The best thing a true advocate can do for us is to accuse us so that we will cast off the sin that is our true enemy.

No, the only constructive response to our own sin, our only defense against its ravages, is repentance, and no one can do that for us. Israel learned that the hard way, repeatedly (Numbers 21:5-9, Judges 10:10-16, I Samuel 7:6, etc.). We need to face sin for what it is, reject it, and take concrete steps to turn back to God. Moses and the prophets set before us life and death, the blessing and the curse, and urged us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). If we’ve chosen death, we have only ourselves to blame. The good news is that these same prophets also set before us the remedy for our bad choices. We can repent. We can return to the Lord, heed His Voice with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 30:2) and keep His commandments. He will take us back, cleanse us (Isaiah 1:18-19), and heal us (Deuteronomy 32:39).

This is all possible because of the price Jesus paid for us. Moses could plead for his people, and even offer to take their punishment on himself (Exodus 32:32). However, because God is infinite, offenses against Him take on infinite proportions. Moses, as a finite creature, was utterly incapable of paying that infinite price. Only Jesus, because He is infinite God (because He and the Father are One), could pay the infinite penalty. He is the One to whom Moses and the prophets point as our ultimate remedy for sin.

May we turn in repentance to Jesus, the remedy for our sin, that He may cleanse and heal us from the only disease that can ultimately destroy us.

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