Monday Reflection – September 02, 2019
Sovereign Dispenser of Mercy and Grace
I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. Exodus 33:19
What a declaration from the Sovereign Dispenser of grace and mercy! He will dispense of his own grace and mercy in his own way! In the context of today’s Watchword, God has become frustrated with the sinful and rebellious ways of his people, Israel. While Moses is on Mount Sinai with God, the people made for themselves a golden calf to worship. This event sets off a minor debate between God and Moses about what God should do to the people of Israel in response to their idolatry. Initially, God proposes that he will destroy all the people of Israel and start over with Moses. However, Moses disagrees and tells God that such an action will bring shame upon God’s name. God then decides to not destroy the Israelites.
Moses then returns to the people and rebukes them for their behaviour. They repent, and so Moses returns to speak with God and plead with him to forgive the people. God says that he will forgive them, but he will not go with them to the Promised Land because his holiness would consume them in their sin. This leads Moses to intercede with God for the people of Israel. He tells God that if God does not go with them to the Promised Land, then they should not go at all. God agrees to go with the Israelites to the Promised Land. Moses requests to see the glory of God, and when God’s glory passes in front of Moses, it is then that Moses hears God’s statement that He will be gracious to whom he wants and will show compassion upon whom he desires.
Indeed, God exerts his right to be gracious and compassionate to whom he wants; however, God is not a God who rules with an iron fist and quell all dissent so that his people are mindless robots who do whatever God wants out of fear for the repercussions if they don’t. God desires and requires obedience, but he also loves when his people engage him in reasonable discussion and dialogue about his actions and decisions. Moses did this with God, and far from proving that Moses was a rebellious idolater who didn’t want God to be God, such intimate dialogue with God made Moses a friend of God. God desires to reason with us, for it is in this reasoning that he reveals his divine will and plans for our lives, and demonstrates his mercy and compassion. We hear God’s invitation, ‘Come, let us reason together’.
I could not close this reflection without noting that today marks the beginning of the new academic year 2019-2020. We pray that the fullness of God’s mercy and grace will be dispensed upon our teachers, students, administrators, Ministry of Education, parents and all stakeholders. Indeed, it is only by God’s mercy and grace that we can anticipate a successful and productive year. I believe today’s text also beckons us to reason with each other; not argue, quarrel or verbally abuse each other. May classrooms, staffrooms, offices and homes be places of productive reasoning that will result in our further growth and development.
A blessed school year to all!