«Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more» (Romans 5:20).
IF YOU READ YESTERDAY’S MEDITATION, you will remember that before the people possessed the land of Canaan, Moses had exhorted them never to forget: (l) that God had brought them out of Egyptian bondage, (2) that He had tenderly cared for them during the forty years of pilgrimage in the wilderness, and (3) that, for their own benefit, the people should obey God’s commandments and precepts.
Everything was fine up to there. However, in his farewell address, Moses introduced an additional element that appeared to be out of place. «Remember! Do not forget,» he said to them, «how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. . . . Also in Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry enough with you to have destroyed you» (Deuteronomy 9: 7, 8).
What was that sin that provoked the Lord’s wrath to such an extent? The worship of the golden calf, that shameful episode in which the people turned their backs on the God who had brought them out of bondage to bow to a handmade idol (see Exodus 32). On that occasion Moses’s anger was of such magnitude that he not only destroyed the golden calf, but also the tablets of the law written with the finger of God.
Now then, why did Moses ask them to remember that shameful scene in Israel’s history? We find the answer in Deuteronomy 10. «At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first . . . And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke’ » (vv. 1, 2, emphasis added).
What Moses was saying was that it was during the time of the greatest apostasy in Israel’s history that God’s marvelous grace was manifested in the most extraordinary way. The new tablets of the law would not only contain the same text as the former, but would also testify eloquently of the love of a God who was always pleased to give a second chance (see Exodus 34). Is this not what God has done for His people through the ages? The greater our sin, the greater God’s grace has been in forgiving us and giving us a new opportunity.
What are we going to say, then? Well, we will say with Moses that we must remember our «golden calves,» because if those falls teach us anything, it is that when sin abounds, then divine grace abounds much more.
Thank You, dear Father, because «at that time,» when everything seemed lost for me, You gave me a second chance.