31ST MARCH 2022
AND GOD REPENTED OF THE EVIL HE THOUGHT TO DO.
EXODUS 32:7-14 PSALM 106:19-23 JOHN 5:31-47
Today’s First Reading ends by recording that the Lord repented of all the evil which he thought to do to his people. What did the Israelites do that drove God to think of bringing evil upon them? When Moses had “over-stayed” on the mountain with no clear indication on when he will come down, the Israelites told Aaron, “Make us a god to lead us.” Aaron dutifully obliged and moulded a golden calf for them which they took to be their god.
The making of the golden calf shows what happens when God’s people fall prey to the temptation of confusing the human “image of God” with God and start looking for a visible image of God to lead them; no wonder the Israelites tell Aaron , “Make us a god to lead us.” This action by the Israelites violated the first and most fundamental of the commandments, the one that binds them to the Lord in a relationship of exclusive loyalty.
Let us remember that God had told them, “You shall have no other gods before me.” If you were God what would you have done? What do you normally do when someone does what you told him or her not to do? Our First Reading tells us that God planned to punish the Israelites for what they did, something that Moses tried to dissuade God from doing and he eventually succeeded because God changed the earlier idea that was to be effected upon the people.
As we think of what the Israelites did and how Moses succeeded in persuading God not to punish them, what we should think deeply about is that, the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people. When we think of repentance, we instantly connect it with asking for forgiveness of sins but God’s repentance is not an acknowledgement of any failure but it is a way of altering a course in order to accomplish the final result, that of sticking to the original plan. The original plan was to bless the descendants of Abraham to be as many as the stars of heaven and to give them the Promised Land. God repenting of the evil he had thought to do to his people is something very remarkable because it shows that God was deeply moved and does not withdraw or give up on human beings. It also shows that God’s basic character of mercy and faithfulness does not change.
If God repented of what he had intended to do then we have or get to think deeply about the mystery of God and be in a position to participate in that mystery as a way of not being stiff-necked but in a way of moving around to see God’s purpose for us.
How do we relate with other people? Are we too fast or too slow not to change our earlier plans? What advantages do we get when we change our minds? Changing one’s mind gets you closer to your purpose and to continue being the person you are meant to be and to bring goodness to other people and this is what God intended to achieve by changing his mind.
In a world that values sticking to your guns, you may risk looking weak, indecisive and lacking in character but spiritually it helps you maintain your God given purpose and use well the opportunities for your growth. What one issue do you need to change your mind about?