Nothing puts the Lord’s strength on greater display than forgiveness.
And was forgiveness ever needed! The children of Israel had sent representatives to explore the Promised Land. They found it just as God had promised — flowing with milk and honey. But they also became terrified of the people who already occupied the land.
Twelve men went up on the reconnaissance mission. Only two of those — Joshua and Caleb — came back confident that the Lord would lead them to victory. The remaining ten caved in to their fears. Worse, they then incited the Israelites to do the same.
That fear ran rampant throughout the entire community. First, the Israelites cried out to return to Egypt. They accused God of wanting them dead, then of wanting their wives and children to be taken as plunder. They threatened to rebel and go back to Egypt under new leadership.
Moses and Aaron did what only Christ-like leaders would consider doing. They interceded and tried to reason first with the people. Then when the people really stepped across the line, threatening to kill Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, God finally got ticked off.
Really ticked off.
So Moses was placed in the role of interceding with God, because God was preparing to destroy the Israelites. And that’s when Moses reminded the Lord of his true strength:
“Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now” (Numbers 14:17-19, NIV).
Now, centuries later, you and I are the beneficiaries of the Lord’s true strength — the strength of forgiveness. All because Jesus displayed his strength in going to the cross for us. All because our Savior, God’s Son, was willing to intercede with our Heavenly Father for us.
Our Bible reading for Sunday, March 22, is Numbers 13:26 – 14:45, Luke 4:14-37 and Psalm 36:1-12.
Lord, display your true strength. I need your grace and forgiveness so much. Forgive me for my sins.
Header image based on "Bicep Curls" by 2014uknz, CC By 2.0